Vibram USA, manufacturers of FiveFingers shoes, has agreed to a $3.5 million settlement of a class-action suit that alleged the company misled customers as to the health benefits of its "barefoot-style" shoes.
The company came under fire for marketing claims that its shoes could strengthen feet and prevent running-related injuries better than traditional running shoes.
The money will be used to refund runners who bought the shoes after March 21, 2009. Customers who submit claims could receive from $20 to $50. (The shoes retail for about $94.) Leftover money will go to the American Heart Association.
FiveFingers shoes have a glove-like design with individual pockets for each toe, touting a minimalist approach to running that is not scientifically proven.
Although they settled the lawsuit, Vibram USA denies any wrongdoing in a court brief:
"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."