Vibram, the company that manufacture the FiveFingers shoes with separated toes, has moved to settle a suit claiming they overstated health benefits of wearing the shoes.

The company has agreed to pay out US$3.75 million to customers who own the shoes, meaning those who bought them after them March 2009 could be eligible for up to $94 refund from the company. Most of the company’s FiveFinger models will be eligible for a refund if the U.S. District Court approves the settlement, which was filed last week.

Vibram claimed the shoes help strengthen muscles in wearers’ feet and prevent injury, claims the company could not back up. Still, the company stands by their shoes and assert they agreed to a settlement to avoid expensive costs associated with prolonged legal battles.

FiveFingers were popular with a huge expansion of minimalist running shoe sales only a few years ago, but sales have again dropped off along with the market for minimalist shoes.

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