Articles, Blog

FORCE Lab Running Shoe Study

November 10, 2019


With the advent of two very different shoes
in the last 10 years, the minimal shoe and the maximal shoe, it’s hard not to want to
look at what’s happening with these new shoes. Because 15 years ago we were looking at very
similar shoes. And now these are dramatically different. I’m Christine Pollard. I’m associate professor in kinesiology and
I’m the director of the FORCE laboratory. So the study we’re looking at maximal shoes
and trying to understand biomechanically how are they influencing running mechanics. By looking at that we can get a sense that
who are they appropriate for and are they reducing the risk of injury in certain individuals. We brought in a group of runners and we had
them run in this maximal running shoe. The two variables that we look at are loading
rate and the impact peaks. So this is the force going up and down. We look at what those forces are and how high
they are. What we found is we thought this highly cushioned
shoe would actually reduce those forces that have been associated with injury. But in fact what we found was when a runner
that’s never run in the shoe before puts it on right out of the box that those forces
go up. And so that would be suggestive of increased
risk of injury when they’re wearing these maximal shoes. Anecdotally it appeared that these runners
were getting this very highly cushioned shoe. And when they’re running through the lab,
maybe they were relying on the shoe a little more than they typically would. So our next study that we’re conducting now
is actually looking at these shoes: they run in them right out of the box, and then they
go home and they train in them for six weeks, and then we’re bringing them back right now,
and testing to see what are their running mechanics after they’ve gotten used to this
new maximal shoe. And does it in fact reduce that loading rate
and reduce those variables that we know will put them at risk of injury. And so those results are coming out soon. Every runner has individual characteristics,
individual biomechanics and based on our evaluation of that runner we can prescribe a shoe. But know there’s not one golden shoe that
fits every foot of a runner.

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