By now, you have probably heard about the class-action lawsuit against Vibram (the fun “finger toe” shoes)… and if you haven’t? Quick recap:
Vibram USA, the company that makes FiveFingers running shoes, has agreed to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company made false and unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of its glove-like footwear. According to the court filings, Vibram settled to put the matter to rest and avoid any additional legal expenses. “Vibram expressly denied and continues to deny any wrongdoing alleged in the Actions, and neither admits nor concedes any actual or potential fault, wrongdoing or liability,” read the court brief.
The woman who filed the lawsuit against Vibram did so because she believed that they increased injury risk and because they were priced too expensive. There have been studies that say otherwise, like this two year case study demonstrates arch height from running in minimalist shoes.
Once again, instead of truly looking at the issue at hand, blaming someone else is so much easier. But hold on, let me preface this by saying — I don’t know this woman. I don’t know any of her health issues from Vibrams. Who knows, maybe she didn’t even have any.
But this whole principal just irritates me to no end. The principal of “something happened to me, now who can I blame?”
I will be the first person to tell you NOT to fall into the minimalist/barefoot running trap. It’s the latest and greatest thing, with shoe after shoe coming out touting their lightness and their flexibility. Which, if worn in the right conditions, is awesome.
So what are those right conditions?
- Allow your muscles to strengthen… allow them to build it up, after running years in padding some of your muscles are a little lazy.
- Know your foot strike. As a heel striker, I know there is no way that I can run in minimalist shoes for every single run. I am destined for injury if I do that.
- Use them to your advantage. Minimalist shoes are awesome for speed workouts or short runs. Wear them for short races. But unless you are a mid-foot striker or an elite athlete, they may not be the best for marathon training.
I mean if you think about it, buying new running shoes, even if you aren’t changing brands or models, requires you to break them in. Yet, so many people go out and buy these shoes that change how you run and don’t understand why you get injured or don’t feel those health benefits.
So the bottom line is… if you choose to buy a minimalist shoe or try a fad, you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Some people may find that it’s the next best thing for them, while others get a stress fracture. It’s kinda like going skydiving and breaking your leg and suing the skydiving company. Weren’t YOU the one that made that decision and put yourself at risk?
Do you own a pair of Vibrams? Actually, I do! I’ve never ran in them though… they are awesome for hiking and walking, though!
Have you tried minimalist shoes? What’d you think?
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