In short, it’s a tale of an isolated group of Mexican Indians who, wearing little more than sandals, routinely run 50 to 100 miles a day with little or no pain. To test these accomplishments, the author arranged for a group of world-class marathoners to compete with the Indian runners in a 100-mile desert competition. The Indians won, and the fad of shoeless running began.
A company called Vibram jumped on the marketing opportunity, created the world’s ugliest footgear ever, and called them Five-Fingers. As someone who had read the book and wanted to believe, I snatched up a pair, slipped my toes into the duck-like, rubbery, flat soled thingamajigs and took off on my regular, five-mile course.
Ouch. It was brutal. My feet felt every pebble, shard of glass and bump. Worse, within a mile or so, I felt definite pain in both calf muscles. Being a typical male, I suffered through the five mile run. But, I took off my Vibrams and never, ever wore them again.
Apparently, I’m not alone. Vibram’s is in the midst of multiple, class action law suits initiated by runners who say the company’s marketing claims about safer, longer running experiences are completely bogus. Many claim permanent injuries as a direct result of running in the shoes.
Having no evidence to prove the injured runners wrong, Vibram settled to the tune of $3.95 million. That’ll soothe a lot of aching feet, but won’t do much for the permanent injuries. Oh, and by the way, it’s one more example of a business promising one thing in its messaging while audiences experience something quite different when they try the product.
There’s an old saying that warns, “If something is too good to be true, it usually is.’ There’s another one which states, ‘Caveat emptor.’ And, then, of course, there’s the old bromide, ‘Don’t believe everything you read.’
I guess Vibram is the perfect storm of negative aphorisms.
So, tell me. Have any of you tried Vibram Five-Fingers? Are you still able to walk? Wax poetic, especially since you won’t need to use your battered toes to type.
Tip o’ Rep’s cap to Chris and Cat Cody for suggesting this post.