After settling a lawsuit claiming that they lied about the health benefits of their shoes, Barefoot Shoe manufacturer Vibram struck back at critics by claiming that their shoes protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Vibram had marketed its strange individual-toed shoes by claiming that the shoes
(1) Strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs
(2) Improve range of motion in the ankles, feet, and toes
(3) Stimulate neural function important to balance and agility
(4) Eliminate heel lift to align the spine and improve posture
(5) Allow the foot and body to move naturally
But in 2012 Valerie Bezdek sued on a charge of false advertising, pointing out that Vibram had, to quote Bezdek, "Pulled their 'science' out of their ass." After checking with their science department, discovering that it consisted of five dusty mannequins in lab coats, and then checking with their marketing department, Vibram decided to settle with Bezdek and pay 3.75 million dollars to people who have bought their shoes. Wait, what? 3.75 million? Oh. Total. Each person who purchased a pair of FiveFinger and can provide proof-of-purchase shoes will be eligible for a refund of approximately 50$. Vibram will not, however, compensate buyers for the emotional trauma of being mocked by the friends they had remorselessly preached the benefits of FiveFinger to. The judge who ruled in the case is, however, 'leaving open' the option of forcing Vibram to compensate the people who had to listen.
Today, Vibram defended itself from accusation of lying to their customers by responding that although their shoes did not, in fact, promote any kind of foot, leg, or muscle health, the shoes were incredibly effective at protecting against Sexually Transmitted Diseases. "Unlike our previous assertions, which we now regret and never would have made if we had thought someone would check them, science does show that FiveFinger shoes protect against sexually transmitted diseases more effectively than almost any other product on the market." The spokesman then cited a study conducted by Rockettopia University earlier this year that found, in a sample of nearly a million individuals, no instances of contraction of and kind of STDs by people who often wore FiveFinger shoes. The study concluded by stating that, "[T]he data speaks for itself. FiveFinger shoes are incredibly effective at preventing the transmission of Venereal Diseases including but not limited to Gonorrhea, syphilis, and Herpes. The effect of FiveFinger on reducing STD rates equals only that of total sexual abstinence... Oh. I get it now. Maybe I should get rid of these." (Behe 31)Sources: