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Vibram FiveFinger Shoes Offers Refunds To Angry Customers

The shoes claimed they could help you get healthy. They might have stretched the truth.

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These are Vibram FiveFinger shoes.

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They're part of the very successful "barefoot" running trend, a small but growing segment of the running community that believes that it's better to run like runners have been running for thousands of years, rather than investing in fancy shock-absorbing soles or running shoe technology.

There are now a couple dozen varieties of FiveFinger shoes, retailing for between $80 and $125.

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That's pretty steep! But consumers snatched them up, sold on the shoe's advertised health benefits — which included improved posture, strengthened muscles, and reduced injuries.

But a lawsuit filed in March 2012 accused the company of making its health claims without any actual scientific research.

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On Wednesdsay, the company agreed to establish a $3.75 million fund to pay out refunds to anyone who had bought a pair since March 21, 2009.

Dissatisfied customers can expect potential refunds of between $20 and $50 each.

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Proof of purchase isn't required. Consumers only need to log on to fivefingerssettlement.com (once it's up and running) to file a claim.

This isn't the first time the public's been taken by the supposed health benefits of a (really ugly) shoe:

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In 2012, Skechers was forced to pay $40 million in refunds to people who had shelled out for a pair of their Shape-ups "fitness" shoes. And Reebok was required to pay a $25 million settlement over charges that it misled people about the health benefits of its toning shoes.

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