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Stop the Lawsuits Against “Toe Shoes” and Instead Learn About Proper Running Form!

Posted on 20 June 2012

The adiPure Trainer shoes are singled out in new lawsuit.

by Dr. Nick Campitelli.

For those unaware, adidas has now been named in a lawsuit regarding its version of the “toe shoes” called the adiPure Trainer shoes.

Joseph Rocco claimed in a class-action lawsuit filed last week in New York federal court that the $90 pair of adiPure shoes that he purchased did not deliver the increased training efficiency and decreased risk of injury promised in advertisements. He said that the shoes actually increased the risk for bruising and foot damage, due to their decreased padding and other structural differences from more traditional running shoes. Rocco maintained that he and other customers were never warned about the potential hazards and that, as a result, he suffered compound fractures after training in the shoes. He is seeking monetary compensation.

Whatever happened to good old common sense? Or am I missing something here? For several millions of years, humans have functioned without shoes.

But all that is conveniently forgotten. Our ancestral past never seems to come to light in this lawsuit.

Since March, this is now the second suit filed against a shoe company claiming that the shoes did not provide the desired health benefit and that the consumer became injured. Vibram was the first in the line of minimalist shoes to be named in a class-action suit when a runner named Valerie Bezdek accused Vibram of inflating claims about the health benefits of barefoot running to market FiveFingers and charge a price premium over other brands.

Why are runners (with the help of lawyers) now deciding to sue the manufactures if they do not see a “benefit” from the shoes. Are shoes really designed to enhance performance? If that were the case shouldn’t they have wheels with precision die cast bearings that would allow runners to move extremely fast with less demand on the body? After all, following the trend of a super-cushioned, built=up shoe, it seems that the less we use our body, then the less likely we are to get injured, right?

Whatever happened to learning proper form, strengthening your foot musculature, and not blaming a shoe for failed performance?

If shoes were meant to prevent injuries, why do we see plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and numerous other foot pathologies exist in such large numbers in those wearing traditional running shoes? There are over 1 million physician visits per year with a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.

I challenge anyone to present a comparison of injuries in those wearing traditional running shoes to those wearing minimalist shoes.

If someone purchases a pair of gloves and strikes their finger while hammering a nail, are they entitled to sue the manufacturer of the glove, or should they learn how to use the hammer?

Maybe Mr. Rocco and Ms. Bezdek should learn how to run first, before blaming the shoe companies. I would be more the happy to help educate them.

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13 Responses to “Stop the Lawsuits Against “Toe Shoes” and Instead Learn About Proper Running Form!”

  1. Timothep says:

    It reeks of Lottery-Lawsuit. I wonder if he really considered changing his running form or had the intention of sueing Adidas all along…

  2. Maui says:

    Multiple compound fractures because of a pair of shoes? I’d be more worried about the force that broke the bones or something like a degenerative bone disease.

    • Chris says:

      The force that broke the bones doesn’t have to be incredible. If your feet are used to being padded and are weak from never actually using them, the sudden immense increase of work put on them will cause stress fractures which will become actual broken bones if training continues. That’s why you always hear people mention that you should slowly transition to something new. You are using new muscles and they need to be brought up to speed even though your hamstrings and quads are ready.

  3. neil says:

    Welcome to America where stupid people are rewarded by the courts for bad decisions.

    So glad I live in Europe.

  4. Geoffrey Gray says:

    “If shoes were meant to prevent injuries, why do we see plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and numerous other foot pathologies exist in such large numbers in those wearing traditional running shoes?”

    Are you suggesting that these pathologies do not occur in minimal shoes or running barefoot? It is assumptions like these that lead to the bad marketing claims which these lawsuits target.

    While I despise these lawsuits, I am all for truth in advertising. Adidas, Vibram, and the other companies recently named are no different that the ‘toning shoe’ companies that made claims without having honest research behind them.

    • Mike says:

      Are you kidding? There have been studies done that show that all the support and crap they put in other shoes leads to more injuries than if you wear minimal or go barefoot. And idk about the other companies, but vibram comes out and says that you can’t just throw these shoes on and run a marathon, they tell you to gradually get your feet used to them so you don’t hurt yourself.

    • JD says:

      Vibram has a ridiculous barage of cautions that are stuffed in the box, attached to the shoe and ALL over their website. None of them say “Hey, this is a toning shoe”. They all say, “Be careful, if you go at this too fast you will hurt yourself.”

      I have personally sustained more injuries wearing traditional shoes than minimal shoes, and never once thought to sue the shoe company.

  5. BryanC says:

    Though I am sure a case could be made for the improper conclusion you have drawn the article is simply saying that foot injuries occur apart from footwear. If you read the rest of the article you’ll find the glove/hammer example which solidifies the point. No doubt a glove is marketed as offering protection for your hands but it doesn’t make one’s hand impervious to improper use (smashed with a hammer).

    I only hope this trend doesn’t make it harder (more expensive) for the rest of us to obtain these various types of minimal shoes.

    Thanks Nick-

  6. Jordan says:

    The whole philosophy behind this lawsuit is disgusting. Common sense is a rare commodity these days!

    Anyone who is not smart enough to realise that running barefoot is distinctly different to running in shoes, thereby requires an adaptation period, deserves what they get. Particularly those that are then so naive and arrogant as to blame the footwear!

  7. Tom Petrie says:

    I hope the lawsuit will be thrown out. I remember reading a very thoughtful disclaimer on a pair of midfoot running shoes. It warned about getting “use to the shoe” and noting that one’s calves could take some time to strengthen based on this new running form. When I first got my Vibram Five Fingers, I only ran 10 percent of my weekly mileage barefoot. I gradually improved my form and now run 100 percent “midfoot” style in NB 890′s, Saucony Kinvaras and K Swiss KRuus shoes (all three are great shoes).

    I feel sorry that Adidas has to put up with this nonsense (stupid lawsuit from a litigious individual). ALL articles on midfoot running talk of getting stronger and getting into this new (better) style of running in a gradual way. I too have become injured with this new style of running, but it’s one tenth what I got running my old heel-toe method.

    I have nothing but praise for those folks that encouraged me to learn a new way of running and at 54 years of age, am back to running sub 7:00 minute pace and doing repeat miles at 6:00 per mile. Yeah he ehh!

    Midfoot running, like anything new, takes some effort and I do NOT think one should just do it without proper guidance. Frankly, if you DO get injured, you’re probably at fault–not your shoe company.

    This writer has run over 20 marathons and currently runs 50 miles per week in New Balance 890′s and KSwiss K Ruus racing flats. When Running barefoot, I use no shoes at all–on grass, of course, but that’s just a mile or two each week. The rest in on the hills of Stony Point, New York.

  8. Vincent says:

    “Whatever happened to learning proper form, strengthening your foot musculature, and not blaming a shoe for failed performance?”

    Whatever happened to it?

    My question is: When did it start?

  9. Jacques Jacobs says:

    The study WAS done by the American Council on exercise and showed UNEQUIVOCALLY that these shoes result in a far higher incidence of not only minor injuries, but major as well. (compound fractures, ligament and tendon tears, etc). I’ve been an athlete and in the fitness industry for 15 years now. I’ve seen more injuries in one year from these shoes than in the previous 14 years combined. THAT fact, is undeniable.


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