Runners who used "FiveFingers" shoes could get refund

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Jun 17 2014 11:01:02 PM HST

The barefoot shoes known as "five-fingers" were supposed to revolutionize running, but instead some runners ran into problems. KITV4's Brenton Awa has more about the company selling the shoes who have now settled a class-action lawsuit.

HONOLULU -

The barefoot shoes known as FiveFingers were supposed to revolutionize running but now runners who wore them might be getting money back. Vibram has settled in a class action lawsuit after runners claimed the shoes did more harm than good.

Bob Miller's been putting on his Vibrams for years. He's never gotten injured from using the barefoot shoes. But that's because he says he sticks to low impact exercises that doesn't put stress on his feet.

"I've seen people hiking, I've seen people walking, I've seen people doing all kinds of stuff with them like running. I just don't understand it because they don't seem to offer the support that I'm looking for," said Miller.

The shoes might not have offered the right support to hundreds more people in Hawaii. We're told local customers bought the minimalist shoes not realizing they needed to change their running style to accommodate the product. Experts say they've seen many customers returning to the stores with injured knees, looking to return the shoes.

"And that's where we ran into a lot of problems where we haven't ran into with a lot of the other brands. So that's why the owners just decided to stop carrying it, we returned the excess stock and we've never brought it in since," said Darin Hashimoto, of Runners Route.

The class action lawsuit alleges that the company falsely advertised certain benefits associated with the FiveFingers footwear. Whether or not those benefits exists, experts say depends on how you're using the shoe.

"A lot of people use it for kickboxing, for cross-fit, we get tons of people coming in for that types of shoes," said Hashimoto.

It's key to note that this settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing on the part of the company. If you've bought a pair of the shoes between March 2008 and May 2014, you may be eligible to get some of your money back by going to the companies website and submitting a claim.

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