Does enhanced footwear comfort affect oxygen consumption and running biomechanics?

Review written by Tom Goom info

Key Points

  1. 15 male runners ranked shoes based on comfort, and the most comfortable and least comfortable were compared for their effects on running economy and biomechanics.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

There’s long been debate around what factors should guide shoe selection in runners. Traditionally athletes have been advised based on foot type, but this approach has been challenged and described as “overly simplistic and potentially injurious” (1).

More recently a ‘comfort filter’ approach has been suggested where a runner’s perception of comfort has been considered important in determining which shoe to select (2). However, this approach has not been tested extensively, so this study sought to examine the effect shoe comfort may have on oxygen consumption and running biomechanics.

Traditionally athletes have been advised about shoe selection based on foot type.
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It may be best to approach shoe selection purely on an individual basis and consider how they might link to a runner’s goals.

METHODS

15 male runners were included in the study. 5 footwear conditions were ranked by participants based on overall comfort. The most preferred and least preferred of the shoes were then compared for their effects on running economy and 3D biomechanics

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