Bizarre 'FiveFingers' running shoes loved by the A-list are sued over claims that they 'increase injury risk'



23:28 GMT, 30 March 2012

They have been spotted on some of the world's most famous
feet such as those of Prince Harry, Kate Hudson and Shailene Woodley.

But Vibram USA Inc's FiveFingers running shoes, which are designed to simulate the sensation of running barefoot, have now received negative
attention due to a class-action lawsuit against the company.

Valerie Bezdek from Florida is suing the
company for making misleading statements about the FiveFingers product. She claims that the shoes pose more risk to the wearer than regular running shoes, and even bare feet.

Odd looking: The shoes have been shaped with five individual toes in order to mimic the foot itself, likening its use to to barefoot running

Odd looking: The shoes have been shaped with five individual toes in order to mimic the foot itself, likening its use to to barefoot running

Ms Bezdek, who purchased a pair of the FiveFingers footwear
for $104.90 in April of last year, has made claims for damages and attorney's
fees and costs on the behalf of ‘thousands… the precise number is unknown.'

The lawsuit included information from the American Podiatric
Medical Association about barefoot running to help back her case.

It stated: 'Research has not yet adequately shed light on
the immediate and long-term effects of this practice.

'Risks of barefoot running
include a lack of protection – which may lead to injuries such as puncture
wounds – and increased stress on the lower extremities.'

Kate Hudson in FiveFingers

Channing Tatum in FiveFingers

Star favourite: Kate Hudson (left) and Channing Tatum (right) are just some of FiveFingers' celebrity fans. Vibram, the company who makes them, is being sued

Made to replicate the effects of barefoot running, the company stated that their product
provides 'all the health benefits of barefoot running.'

The company has not shown any details of scientific research
to support their glowing claims.

Chief executive Tony Post told the San Francisco
Chronicle: 'It used to be all about adding more. Now, we're
trying to strip a lot of that away.'

But through Ms Bezdek's research, it has been claimed that they may in fact 'increase injury risk.'

She also made note of the product's hefty price tags. A pair of 'Five Fingers' range from about $80 to $125 each.

The National Sporting Goods Association claimed in 2010 that
the average price for jogging/running shoes was $62.33.

The price has risen
consistently every year since 2008 but rarely by more than five per cent.

The lawsuit states: 'Defendants have used these claims to
charge a premium for FiveFingers that consumers readily paid, believing FiveFingers would confer upon them significant health benefits.'

News of the case comes after another $5million lawsuit was
filed against Boston-based footwear company New Balance in January.

It claimed that the footwear company had also embellished in outling their own running product's health benefits.