Adidas sued over 'barefoot' running shoe claims

NEW YORK, June 18 Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:38am IST

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NEW YORK, June 18 (Reuters) - A New York man has sued a unit of Adidas AG, claiming he was duped about the potential fitness benefits of a line of shoes designed to mimic the effect of running barefoot.

In a class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday, plaintiff Joseph Rocco said the $90 pair of adiPure shoes he purchased did not deliver the increased training efficiency and decreased risk of injury promised in advertisements.

The lawsuit was filed against Adidas America Inc, a U.S. subsidiary of German-based Adidas, which makes the adiPure shoes.

Contrary to Adidas' claims, the shoes actually increase the risk for bruising and foot damage, due to their decreased padding and other structural differences from more traditional running shoes, Rocco said in the lawsuit. Rocco said 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.

The lawsuit seeks to certify a class of everyone who purchased adiPure shoes since their debut in August 2011. Rocco is seeking a refund for the shoes, as well as statutory damages.

Adidas did not immediately return a request for comment.

Adidas launched the adiPure shoes to capitalize on the burgeoning fitness trend of "barefoot running" - running in shoes with articulated toes and minimal padding.

It is apparently the first such lawsuit against Adidas over advertisements for adiPure. In March, a class action lawsuit was filed against Vibram - the maker of barefoot-style running shoe FiveFingers - over similar claims of promoting the shoes' unproven health benefits.

The case is Rocco et al. v. Adidas America Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, no. 12-3015.

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