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Vibram gets vague

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Earlier this year, Vibram settled a class-action lawsuit about its FiveFingers “shoes,” paid $3.75 million to customers, and agreed to un-publish all claims that the product “strengthens” or “reduces injury” until they can be proven. If Vibram had ever had any such proof, they would have shouted it out, but their original, pre-lawsuit “health & wellness” page was barely longer than a haiku and offered only five incredibly broad bullet points of vague, meaningless, but nice-sounding things like “improve posture” and “move naturally” and (of course) “align the spine”—sure, it’s just like wearing a chiropractor on your foot! •eye-roll•

Recently, post-lawsuit, they changed the text to be even more vague (which is saying something):

The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised. Vibram FiveFingers® footwear is different than any other footwear on the planet. Not only does it bring you closer to your environment, it also delivers a number of positive health benefits—by leveraging all of the body’s natural biomechanics, so you can move as nature intended.

Uh huh. So basically the same stuff — but now too vague to get busted for. I’ve updated my barefoot running article.

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