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Impact characteristics in shod and barefoot running


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Increased impact characteristics are often cited as a cause of running injuries. One method that has been used to reduce impact characteristics is to increase the thickness of the midsole of running footwear with the intention of attenuating greater shock from the foot-ground collision. A second method that has been suggested is to run barefoot. The purpose of this study was to compare the impact characteristics of running footwear of different midsole thickness to a barefoot condition. Three-dimensional kinematic and kinetic data were collected as participants ran at their preferred running speed and at a fixed speed. Impact characteristics (impact peak, time to impact peak and vertical loading rate) were derived from the vertical ground reaction force component. Ankle and knee joint stiffness during the loading phase of support were derived from the change in moment divided by the change in angle. The impact parameters were statistically analyzed using a two-way, repeated measures ANOVA. There were no significant speed by footwear condition interactions. For impact peak, ankle stiffness and knee stiffness, there was no difference among the shod conditions but there were significant differences between the shod and barefoot conditions. Based on their strike index, participants in this study appeared to alter their footfall pattern from a rearfoot to a midfoot pattern when changing from running shod to barefoot. It may be concluded that the change in the impact characteristics is a result of changing footfall pattern rather than midsole thickness.
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Footwear Science
Vol. 3, No. 1, March 2011, 33–40
Impact characteristics in shod and barefoot running
Joseph Hamill
, Elizabeth M. Russell, Allison H. Gruber and Ross Miller
Biomechanics Laboratory, 23 Totman Building, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
(Received 27 September 2010; final version received 18 November 2010)
Increased impact characteristics are often cited as a cause of running injuries. One method that has been used to
reduce impact characteristics is to increase the thickness of the midsole of running footwear with the intention of
attenuating greater shock from the foot-ground collision. A second method that has been suggested is to run
barefoot. The purpose of this study was to compare the impact characteristics of running footwear of different
midsole thickness to a barefoot condition. Three-dimensional kinematic and kinetic data were collected as
participants ran at their preferred running speed and at a fixed speed. Impact characteristics (impact peak, time to
impact peak and vertical loading rate) were derived from the vertical ground reaction force component.
Ankle and knee joint stiffness during the loading phase of support were derived from the change in moment
divided by the change in angle. The impact parameters were statistically analyzed using a two-way, repeated
measures ANOVA. There were no significant speed by footwear condition interactions. For impact peak, ankle
stiffness and knee stiffness, there was no difference among the shod conditions but there were significant
differences between the shod and barefoot conditions. Based on their strike index, participants in this study
appeared to alter their footfall pattern from a rearfoot to a midfoot pattern when changing from running shod to
barefoot. It may be concluded that the change in the impact characteristics is a result of changing footfall pattern
rather than midsole thickness.
Keywords: impact forces; barefoot running; shod running; loading; running injury
1. Introduction
Injuries to runners have been well documented since
the beginning of the running ‘boom’ in the 1970s
(James et al. 1978). Although a great deal of research
during the intervening decades has focused on running
and running related injuries, the percentage of runners
who get injured has remained essentially the same
(Clement et al. 1981, Taunton et al. 2002). Some
researchers have implicated running footwear as a
possible risk factor for running related injuries.
Robbins and Waked (1997a) suggested that modern
footwear with a thick midsole necessitates a large
impact force in an attempt to transform the interface
into a more stable surface. They proposed that this
mechanism explains the 123% higher injury frequency
found in runners who use more expensive footwear
compared with those who use lower cost alternatives
(Robbins and Waked 1997b). The researchers
concluded that modern running footwear may be
potentially over cushioned.
Other researchers have argued that running shoes
can be part of the solution to running injuries. Divert
et al. (2005a) suggested that the purpose of the shoe is
to ‘protect the foot and leg structure by means of a
damping and low stiffness material’. Milgrom et al.
(1992) reported that basketball shoes were superior to
normal military boots in preventing stress fractures of
the foot and other overuse injuries of the foot. Rome
et al. (2008) concluded that their use in footwear with
shock absorbing insoles may reduce the occurrence of
stress fractures. Hunter et al. (2007) stated that patella
misalignment is potentially modifiable through
A solution that is often offered to the quandary of
the effectiveness of footwear in reducing injury risk is
the use of ‘minimal footwear’. Minimal footwear can
be defined as a shoe with a thin, flexible midsole and
outsole and a light, basic upper with little or no heel
counter. In terms of overuse injuries, a more minimal
design may mean a thinner midsole. If the theory
proposed by Robbins and Waked (1997a) suggesting
that the midsole masks the magnitude of impact shock
is correct, a thinner midsole may allow runners to sense
the severity of impacts and adjust kinematics accord-
ingly. In a study by Clarke et al. (1983) using shoes
with different midsole hardnesses, it was shown that
subjects adjusted their running kinematics in such
*Corresponding author. Email:
ISSN 1942–4280 print/ISSN 1942–4299 online
ß 2011 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/19424280.2010.542187
Downloaded By: [Hamill, Joseph] At: 18:57 15 February 2011
a way that impact forces were not grossly different.
This finding was supported by Snel et al. 1985, Nigg
et al. (1987) and Hennig et al. (1996). In addition,
if a runner lands on the lateral rearfoot portion of the
shoe (as with the rearfoot footfall pattern), a thinner
midsole may reduce the lever arm between the ground
reaction force and the sub-talar joint which, in theory,
may reduce the degree of pronation, and possibly
reduce the pronation velocity (Nigg 1986) which has
been associated with running injuries (Messier and
Pittala 1988).
A currently popular extension of the minimal shoe
concept is the move to an even more minimal state,
barefoot running. Some claim running barefoot allows
the athlete to run ‘naturally’, or as nature intended;
which could potentially take advantage of the body’s
natural shock attenuation and energy return capabil-
ities. However, several researchers have shown that a
runner will alter their kinematics when running bare-
foot versus running shod (De Wit et al. 2000, Divert
et al. 2005a,b). These kinematic alterations may affect
the impact characteristics during the initial foot-
ground contact phase of running. For example,
Oakley and Pratt (1988) reported a 40% reduction in
vertical ground reaction force loading rate when
running in a 63 durometer insole compared to
Recently, footwear manufacturers and running
enthusiasts have increased interest in ‘minimal’ shoe
constructions and also in barefoot running. It is
generally believed that reducing the midsole thickness
of running shoes will result in alterations of the impact
characteristics and also how runners contact the
ground, but these theories have not yet been confirmed
experimentally. Therefore, the purpose of this study
was to determine the impact characteristics as footwear
midsole thickness varied and compare these character-
istics to barefoot running. We hypothesized that no
changes in the impact characteristics would result as
midsole thickness decreased but there would be signif-
icant changes in impact characteristics between shod
and barefoot running.
2. Methods
2.1. Subjects
Ten participants (five females and five males) were
used as subjects in this study. The participants had the
following characteristics: for the males age ¼
29.6 2.9 years, height ¼ 1.74 0.37 m, body
mass ¼ 80.7 5.1 kg; and for the females
age ¼ 27.4 3.7 years, height ¼ 1.64 0.43 m, body
mass ¼ 60.6 5.8 kg. All participants were regular
runners who ran at least 15 km per week and all
normally used a rearfoot footfall pattern (i.e. initial
contact was made on the heel). None of the partici-
pants had known lower extremity injuries at the time of
data collection. Each of the participants signed an
informed consent form approved by the University
Institutional Review Board.
2.2. Experimental set-up
Kinematic and kinetic data were acquired from the
right lower extremity of all subjects. Three-dimensional
kinematic data were collected at 240 Hz using an
eight-camera Qualisys Oqus capture system (Qualisys,
Inc., Gothenberg, Sweden). Ground reaction force
data were collected synchronously at 1200 Hz using an
AMTI force platform (AMTI, Inc., Watertown, MA,
USA) that was flush with the running surface.
Running speed was monitored by recording the time
between two photoelectric sensors placed 6 m apart.
2.3. Protocol
In order to track the motion of the lower extremities,
clusters of retro-reflective markers on rigid plastic
shells were placed on the thigh, leg and foot (McClay
and Manal 1999). In addition, markers were placed on
the right and left anterior superior iliac spines (ASIS),
the sacrum at the level of the ASIS markers, the heads
of the first and fifth metatarsals and the toe. These
17 markers served as tracking markers for the move-
ment trials. Prior to each individual data collection, a
standing calibration trial was collected with the subject
in quiet stance. To model the lower extremities and the
pelvis, ten calibration markers were placed to identify
joint centers and segment mass centers. For the
standing calibration trial, calibration markers were
positioned to define the individual segment geometries
and segment coordinate systems. The calibration
markers were positioned on the skin overlying:
(1) the right and left iliac crests; (2) the right and left
greater trochanters; (3) medial and lateral femoral
condyles; and (4) medial and lateral maleoli. Following
the standing calibration, the calibration markers were
removed with only the tracking markers remaining.
Three pairs of custom built shoes (size 8M for
women and size 10M for men) with identical uppers
but different midsole thicknesses were used in this
study. All shoes had the same mass, foam midsole,
midsole durometer, last slope and upper. Shoe A had
a heel height of 4 mm and thin outsole only in the
forefoot; shoe B had a heel height of 12 and 8 mm in
the forefoot; and Shoe C had a heel height of 20 and
34 J. Hamill et al.
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16 mm in the forefoot. In addition, there was a
condition in which the runners ran barefoot (BF). In
all conditions, no instructions were given to the
runners on how to contact the ground during the run.
Participants were dressed in tight bicycle-type
shorts and a tight fitting short-sleeved shirt. They ran
along a 25 m runway in which the force platform was
14 m from the start of the run. Each subject was then
given a familiarization period running in the experi-
mental area for 5–10 min before data collection began.
Participants ran at their preferred speed (mean
3.57 0.41 m s
) and at a fixed speed
(4.0 m s
5%) in each of the four footwear condi-
tions for a total of eight conditions per subject. The
order of conditions was randomized to prevent an
order effect. Ten satisfactory trials in each condition
were collected. A satisfactory trial was one in which the
subject made a right foot contact on the force platform
within 5% of the prescribed running speed without
modifying their gait.
2.4. Data analysis
Kinematic data for the stance phase of each over-
ground running trial were digitized using QTM soft-
ware (Qualisys, Inc.). Synchronized raw kinematic and
kinetic signals were exported from the QTM software
in .C3D format and processed using Visual 3D
software (C-Motion, Inc., Rockville, MD). Raw kine-
matic data were low-pass filtered using a fourth order,
zero-lag Butterworth digital filter. The cut-off frequen-
cies for the low-pass filtering of kinematic were 12 Hz
which was determined using a residual analysis
(Winter 2005).
Three-dimensional joint angles for the hip, knee
and ankle were calculated using an x (flexion/exten-
sion), y (abduction/adduction), z (axial rotation)
Cardan rotation sequence (Cole et al. 1993). All
angles were referenced to coordinate systems embed-
ded in the distal segment. In addition, the metatarso-
phalangeal angle was calculated as the flexion angle
about an axis from the 1st to the 5th metatarsal.
A Newton–Euler inverse dynamics approach was
employed to calculate the 3D internal moment at the
lower extremity joints. Internal joint moments at
the ankle and knee were calculated and reported in
the coordinate system of the leg segment.
The ground reaction force (GRF) data were filtered
at 75 Hz using a recursive fourth-order low-pass digital
filter and were subsequently scaled to each partici-
pant’s body weight. From the vertical GRF compo-
nent, the following parameters were calculated: first
peak vertical force (IPeak); time to first peak vertical
force (TTP) and average vertical loading rate (VLR).
VLR was determined as the slope of the force–time
profile from 20–80% of the period between initial foot
contact and the impact peak. This section of the
vertical force–time profile was chosen because it is the
most linear portion of the initial loading portion.
Joint torsional loading stiffness was calculated as
the change in joint moment divided by the change in
joint angle (Stefanyshyn and Nigg 1998, Hamill et al.
2010). This stiffness, often referred to as
quasi-stiffness, represents the sum of many individual
stiffness measures (Latash and Zatsiorsky 1993).
Sagittal plane ankle (AStiff) and knee joint stiffness
(KStiff) were determined from initial foot contact to
midstance (i.e. maximum knee flexion). Joint moments
were scaled to body mass prior to the calculation of the
joint torsional loading stiffness.
Strike index (SI) (Cavanagh and Lafortune 1980)
was calculated to confirm the footfall pattern used by
the participants in each of the conditions. Strike index
is the point of intersection of a perpendicular drawn
from the center point of pressure at initial foot contact
to the long axis of the foot. The point of intersection is
then reported as a percent of the total foot length from
the heel. All participants had SI533% indicating that
they were all rearfoot footfall pattern runners during
the shod conditions.
2.5. Statistical analysis
All variables were determined for each of 10 trials per
participant for each condition (footwear, barefoot) and
averaged within the participant and then across con-
ditions. A repeated measures Analysis of Variance
(Speed Conditions Participants) was used to deter-
mine differences between means. A criterion level of
0.05 was employed. A Tukey post hoc test was used
when appropriate. In addition, effect sizes (ES) were
determined for all variables to aid in the interpretation
of any trends (Cohen 1989). An ES ¼ 0.2 indicated a
small effect, ES ¼ 0.5 a moderate effect and ES ¼ 0.8
a large effect.
3. Results
Each participant altered their footfall pattern to a
midfoot pattern when running barefoot from their
natural rearfoot pattern. With an SI533% in the shod
conditions, the indication was that the participants
used a heel-toe or rearfoot footfall pattern in the shod
conditions. However, in the barefoot condition, all of
the participants changed their footfall pattern to a
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midfoot contact (i.e. SI433% but566%).
Additionally, to verify this change in footfall pattern,
we calculated the average ankle touchdown angle. In
the three shod conditions, a dorsiflexed position was
observed in the shod conditions (11.14 4.46
10.67 4.43
at the preferred and fixed speeds, respec-
tively) and a plantar flexed position in the barefoot
condition (–7.13 3.00
and –6.58 2.24
at the pre-
ferred and fixed speeds, respectively).
For all of the parameters examined in this study,
there were no statistically significant Speed
Condition interactions (P40.05) indicating that the
parameters showed the same trend across conditions
when the participants ran at either their preferred
speed or the fixed running speed.
An exemplar profile of the vertical ground reaction
force component of a single trial for a male participant
is presented in Figure 1. For IPeak, there was a
significant difference between running speeds
(P50.05) with moderate to large ES (ES ¼ 0.65–0.77)
for each of the footwear conditions between speeds.
The IP was always greater at the fixed running speed
which was faster than the preferred speed for all
participants (see Figure 2a). However, for both
running speeds, IPeak was significantly different
between footwear conditions (P40.05). The post hoc
test revealed that the locus of the difference was
between the barefoot and the footwear conditions
with a moderate ES between these conditions
(ES40.61). The barefoot condition’s IPeak was
between 0.19 and 0.31 BW less than the three footwear
For TTP, the results were similar to the impact
peak (see Figure 2b). There was a statistically signif-
icant difference among conditions with the post hoc
test revealing differences between the barefoot and the
three footwear conditions (P50.05; ES ¼ 1.35 and
3.40). At each running speed, TTP in the barefoot
condition was approximately 50% less (12.31 ms versus
24.35, 26.67 and 25.61 ms and 11.97 ms versus 21.70,
23.17 and 24.31 ms for the preferred and fixed speeds)
than the footwear conditions.
In terms of VLR (see Figure 2c), there was a
significant difference across conditions (P50.05) again
with the post hoc test indicating that there was a
difference between the footwear conditions and the
barefoot condition at each running speed. When
running at preferred speed, VLR for the barefoot
condition was 30.43 versus 72.23, 65.06 and
59.59 BW s
for the 4/0, 12/8 and 20/16 mm shoe
conditions respectfully. At the fixed speed, VLR for
the barefoot condition was 21.26 BW s
versus 69.16,
63.03, 55.02 BW s
for the 4/0, 12/8 and 20/16 mm
shoe conditions respectfully. While not significant,
there was a trend to decrease LR with decreasing
midsole thickness.
AStiff values are presented in Figure 3a. There was
no significant difference (P4 0.05) and only small
effect sizes (ES 50.18) between running speeds. At
each running speed, there were no differences between
the shod conditions (P40.05; ES50.19) but there were
differences between the shod and barefoot conditions
(P50.05) with large effect sizes (ES41.0).
There was a significant difference between running
speeds (P50.05) for KStiff with the fixed running
speed having greater values than the preferred speed
with small to moderate ES ranging from 0.31 to 0.64
(see Figure 3b). However, there were no differences in
KStiff across footwear conditions (P40.05; small
20 40 60 80
Percent support
Force (BW)
0 20406080
Percent support
Force (BW)
4/0 mm
12/8 mm
20/16 mm Barefoot
Figure 1. Exemplar vertical GRF component for all foot-
wear conditions for a single trial of a male participant at:
(a) the preferred running speed; and (b) the fixed
running speed.
36 J. Hamill et al.
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4. Discussion
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact
characteristics when running in footwear with similar
construction but varied midsole thickness and compare
these characteristics to barefoot running. The hypoth-
esis tested was that there would be no changes in the
impact characteristics (e.g., IPeak, TTP, VLR, AStiff,
KStiff) as a result of midsole thickness but there would
be differences in these impact characteristics between
shod and barefoot running. The hypothesis was, for
the most part, substantiated. For IPeak, TTP, VLR
and AStiff, there were no differences among the shod
conditions but the shod conditions were significantly
different from the barefoot condition. These differ-
ences can be explained by the fact that all participants
used a heel–toe footfall pattern in the shod conditions
but, in the barefoot condition, all of the participants
changed their footfall pattern to a midfoot contact.
When running barefoot, all subjects contacted the
ground with a slightly plantar flexed foot angle, then
contacted the ground with the heel shortly after.
The magnitude of the impact characteristics of the
shod conditions in the current study were similar to
those from other studies. The vertical ground reaction
force component, from which IPeak, TTP and VLR
are derived, is within the magnitude range of compa-
rable studies that used shod running. IPeak, VLR,
AStiff and KStiff all show magnitudes comparable to
other studies (Stefanyshyn and Nigg 1998, Milner et al.
2006, Hamill et al. 2010).
The IPeak and VLR of the vertical ground reaction
force have been associated with running injuries
(Hreljac et al. 2000, Milner et al. 2006, Pohl et al.
2009). Barefoot running has recently been advocated
to reduce running injuries by altering kinematics to
reduce the effect of impact loading (Lieberman et al.
2010). However, several earlier studies have found
increased external loading rates during barefoot run-
ning (Dickinson et al. 1985, Komi et al. 1987, Lees
1988, Oakley and Pratt 1988, De Clercq et al. 1994, De
Wit et al. 2000). These findings are not consistent with
the present study which found reduced impact ground
reaction force parameters during barefoot running at
both preferred and fixed running speeds. It may be
that, while our runners altered their footfall pattern to
a midfoot initial contact during barefoot running, in
the prior studies the runners maintained an initial
rearfoot contact. Oakley and Pratt (1988) reported a
40% reduction in VLR when subjects ran shod with a
rearfoot footfall pattern compared to barefoot running
with a rearfoot footfall pattern. Additionally, these
authors saw no difference in loading parameters when
comparing shod and barefoot running with a forefoot
footfall pattern. This suggests that a change in footfall
pattern is responsible for the differences in loading
parameters in shod versus barefoot running. However,
our findings support those of Squadrone and Gallozzi
(2009) and Divert et al. (2005a) who also observed
greater initial ground reaction force peaks during shod
Figure 2. Mean GRF parameters for all participants for the
preferred (black) and fixed running speeds (white): (a) impact
peak force; (b) time to peak impact force; and (c) loading
Footwear Science 37
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Landing on the anterior portion of the foot during
barefoot running has been observed in other investi-
gations (Squadrone and Gallozzi 2009). By altering
their footfall pattern to an initial midfoot contact
during barefoot running, the participants in the current
study reduced the IPeak and the VLR. However, the
IPeak in shod heel–toe running is not synonomous
with the IPeak in barefoot running. The impact in
barefoot running occurs on the midfoot area of the
foot while in the shod conditions it is on the lateral
aspect of the heel. The apparent impact peak in a
midfoot footfall pattern represents the heel touching
down after the initial midfoot contact.
In order to accommodate the alteration of foot
posture to a slightly more plantar flexed position at
foot contact, the midfoot runner employs a necessarily
stiffer sagittal ankle joint at initial impact while a less
stiff ankle joint is seen in shod running. Greater ankle
stiffness is necessary in midfoot patterns to prevent the
heel from impacting the ground. The stiffer ankle joint
was observed during barefoot running compared to the
shod conditions in the current study. While it may
appear beneficial to use a midfoot contact based on the
reduced impact peak of the vertical GRF, modifica-
tions of other impact-related variables (e.g., ankle
stiffness) should be considered as well when assessing
the pros and cons of different footfall patterns.
Impact attenuation has been associated with the
action of knee flexion during the initial portion of the
support phase (Derrick et al. 1998). In the present
study, there was a non-significant trend towards an
increase in knee joint stiffness (KStiff). Divert et al.
(2008) reported greater leg stiffness with barefoot
running. Leg stiffness may be viewed as a combination
Figure 3. Mean ankle (a) and knee (b) stiffness for all participants for the preferred (black) and fixed (white) running speeds.
38 J. Hamill et al.
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of all stiffness components in the lower extremity
including knee stiffness. Thus, the non-significant
increased trend in KStiff in the barefoot condition
may indicate that shock attenuation may take place by
other means. However, Squadrone and Gallozzi (2009)
reported a reduced stride length while running bare-
foot. Reducing stride length has been shown to
decrease impact characteristics and increase shock
attenuation (Derrick et al. 1996). The reduced stride
length may help to explain why impact characteristics
are less and greater attenuation is found in barefoot
running. However, if the runner maintains the same
stride length (and footfall pattern) during shod and
barefoot running, then the impact characteristics
would be expected to be greater in barefoot running.
Runners will generally adopt a forefoot or midfoot
footfall pattern when running barefoot on a firm
surface possibly to avoid heel contact on the hard
surface. Lieberman et al. (2010) suggested barefoot
running may reduce the incidence of running related
injuries because runners would change their footfall
pattern to either mid- or forefoot landings. It has also
been suggested that forefoot landings may alter the
shock attenuation mechanisms during running (Pratt
1989, Williams and Cavanagh 1987). While results of
the present study appear to support these contentions,
it is not clear what the long-term effect of altering one’s
footfall pattern will be on the risk of running injury.
In a recent paper, Lieberman et al. (2010) suggested
a thick heel midsole will result in a rearfoot footfall
pattern. The converse of this argument may be that
a thinner midsole may lead to a change to mid- or
forefoot footfall pattern. In each of the shod condi-
tions in the current study, the participants, who were
natural rearfoot footfall pattern runners, all main-
tained the rearfoot pattern throughout even in the
footwear condition with no midsole. It would appear
that the participants in the current study altered their
footfall pattern as a function of not being shod rather
than midsole heel height.
5. Conclusions
The current study indicated that impact characteristics
are different between shod and barefoot running.
However, we also showed that the participants in this
study typically altered their footfall pattern from a
rearfoot pattern to a midfoot pattern when progressing
from shod to barefoot running. Impact characteristics
were not affected by a change in midsole height.
However, impact characteristics such as IPeak and
VLR were reduced in barefoot running compared to
the shod conditions. These findings support the
contention that the presence of footwear influences
impact characteristics, but do not necessarily indicate
that running without shoes or with a particular footfall
pattern is beneficial for avoiding injury. Long-term
prospective studies would be useful to this end. It may
be that the change in footfall pattern affects impact
characteristics to a greater degree than midsole
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Downloaded By: [Hamill, Joseph] At: 18:57 15 February 2011
... One such change is the transition from a rear-foot strike to a mid-foot strike. This is as a result of increasing plantar-flexion running barefoot [61]. Another kinematic change that occurs is an decrease joint compliance during impact when running with shoes in comparison to barefoot running [62]. ...
Objectives The aim of this study was to measure the magnitude of forces in the joints of the lower limb whilst running barefoot and compare them to the forces generated whilst wearing running shoes with a thick midsole.Methods Twenty-three volunteers who utilised running as their main sport or a training aid ran as training aid were included in this study. Each volunteer would run down a fourteen-meter-long corridor both barefoot and with running shoes. Forces for joints of the lower limb were collected using a Vicon motion analysis system and force plates. The joint forces for the ankles, knees and hips were taken as the largest joint force experienced during the stance phase and then averaged over five running trials.ResultsThere was significant reduction in the joint forces for the ankles, knees, and hips when barefoot running compared to the shod condition.Conclusion Barefoot running could be utilised to prevent both acute and degenerative injuries of the lower limb.
... Although in-vitro material tests confirm this theory, in vivo tests sometimes give contradictory results 48 . In that regard, Hamill et al. (2011) found no differences in loading rate between running shoes with varying midsole thickness. Other studies reported a decrease 131 , or even an increase in loading rate 132 while running in highly cushioned shoes. ...
... Additionally, some may view the differing pre-and post-fatigue running velocities a limitation. Establishing an acceptable velocity range is a common practice in overground running studies when collecting at a controlled velocity and, typically, this range is at minimum ± 5% [56][57][58]. It should be noted that while velocity during C2 was different between groups, both groups ran within 5% of the controlled C1 velocity. ...
Background The presence of fatigue has been shown to modify running biomechanics. Throughout a run individuals become more fatigued, and the effectiveness of the musculoskeletal protective mechanism can diminish. Older adults are at an elevated risk for sustaining an overuse running related injury. This can be partially explained by changes in the musculoskeletal system and load attenuation. Research question The purpose was to compare post-fatigue running mechanics between older and younger runners. Methods Thirty runners (15 young, 15 older) between the ages of 18-65 participated in this study. All participants ran at least 15 miles/week. Running kinematics were captured using a 10-camera motion capture system while participants ran over a 10-m runway with force platforms collecting kinetic data under two conditions: C1: rested state at a controlled pace of 3.5 m/s (± 5%); C2: post-exertional protocol where pace was not controlled, rather it was monitored based on heartrate and RPE representative of somewhat-hard to hard intensity exercise. Prior to C2, participants underwent an exertional protocol that consisted of a maximal exercise test to induce fatigue and a required cool-down. A 2 (state of fatigue) x 2 (age) MANOVA was run to test for the effects of fatigue and age and their interactions. Results: No state of fatigue x age interaction was observed. A main effect of age for peak knee extension moment (Y > O; p = 0.01), maximum knee power (Y > O; p = 0.04), maximum hip power (O >Y; p =0.04), and peak vertical ground reaction force (Y > O; p = 0.007). Regardless of age, participants exhibited decreased knee ROM (p=0.007) and greater hip extension moment (p<0.001) in C2 compared to C1. Conclusion While different in knee and hip mechanics overall, the subtle differences observed demonstrate that older runners exhibit comparable gait adaptions post-fatigue to younger volume-matched runners.
... Footwear is another dimension of culture that may have some influence on running techniques among non-industrial societies, but not necessarily in a straightforward way. Studies of habitual runners in post-industrial societies have often found that people who run barefoot typically forefoot or midfoot strike and take shorter strides compared with shod runners, leading to less overstride (DeWit et al., 2000;Divert et al., 2008;Hamill et al., 2011;Kerrigan et al., 2009;Larsen, 2014;Lieberman et al., 2010;Squadrone & Gallozi, 2009). However, previous data from the Daasanach and Hadza (Hatala et al., 2013;Pontzer et al., 2014), and new data presented here from the Tsimane, indicate that plenty of habitually barefoot people in some non-industrial societies run with a rearfoot strike pattern and overstride. ...
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Research among non-industrial societies suggests that body kinematics adopted during running vary between groups according to the cultural importance of running. Among groups in which running is common and an important part of cultural identity, runners tend to adopt what exercise scientists and coaches consider to be good technique for avoiding injury and maximizing performance. In contrast, among groups in which running is not particularly culturally important, people tend to adopt suboptimal technique. This paper begins by describing key elements of good running technique, including landing with a forefoot or midfoot strike pattern and leg oriented roughly vertically. Next, we review evidence from non-industrial societies that cultural attitudes about running associate with variation in running techniques. Then, we present new data from Tsimane forager-horticulturalists in Bolivia. Our findings suggest that running is neither a common activity among the Tsimane nor is it considered an important part of cultural identity. We also demonstrate that when Tsimane do run, they tend to use suboptimal technique, specifically landing with a rearfoot strike pattern and leg protracted ahead of the knee (called overstriding). Finally, we discuss processes by which culture might influence variation in running techniques among non-industrial societies, including self-optimization and social learning.
... Based on their results, no shoe effect was found for lower extremity joint angle at peak GRF; the vertical GRFs between shoe conditions were expected to be largely unaffected by the lower extremity kinematics at the instance of peak GRF. Previous studies have reported no correlation between insert hardness and vertical impact force during running (Clarke 1983, Hamill 2011). This lack of difference in vertical GRF was contrary to the results reported by Zhang et al. (2005), who found that forefoot peak GRF was significantly higher for normal and hard midsoles than for soft midsoles during drop landing from a similar height. ...
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The sports and culture sectors play a significant role in generating better values for the society. Olympic Heritage belongs to cultural values, especially in countries where the Olympic Games took place. Over three decades ago, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was a leader in promoting Olympic values during the 1984 Winter Olympic Games. Through questionnaires addressed to the sports federations that are members of the Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina (over 30 sports organizations), this paper was used to inspect the value and direction of the cultural dimension related to the Olympic Heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through the Likert scale consisting of 13 items which were used, important values and the potential development of cultural activities within the Olympic Movement were used and considered in order to provide recommendations for promoting the country’s cultural values in the future. The significance of differences and examinations was determined using the chi-square test (x2). Considering the fact that there is little research on the topic, the authors approach the work by highlighting the elements of culture that are closely connected with the importance of preserving the Olympic Heritage, as well as promotion of culture through sport in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the future, universities, together with the Olympic Committee and NGOs, could offer new cultural platforms emphasising the Olympic values by spreading awareness and educating the youth through sport and culture. The research results may also be applicable to the Sports Development Strategy of BiH. Keywords: Olympic values, Olympic Heritage, cultural activities, cultural awareness, cultural impact.
Bipedal walking is the most common human gait, yet multiple lines of evidence indicate that there was also selection for endurance running in the hominin lineage. To evaluate if and how selection for running influenced the evolution of the human foot, we use functional, comparative, and fossil evidence to assess the three major biomechanical challenges posed to the foot by running versus walking: impact, elastic energy storage, and propulsion. Although human feet unambiguously evolved numerous adaptations for walking, the human foot also has several key derived adaptations for running, especially to store and release elastic energy but also to cope with impacts and to sustain repeated, high, rapid propulsive forces. In addition, some features of the human foot traditionally considered adaptations for walking, especially the longitudinal arch, may play a less important role in walking than commonly assumed but are essential for running. In order to understand the anatomy and function of the unique human foot, it is necessary to consider both walking and running.
Although numerous studies have been performed, there are no clear findings providing a meaningful statement about how foot strike changes as a result of muscular fatigue. In studies on running fatigue, it is not possible to differentiate which kinematic or kinetic changes are a direct result of local muscle fatigue and varied speeds. This study aimed to investigate the effect of foot strike technique and localized muscle fatigue of the plantar and dorsal flexors on plantar pressure distribution and selected kinematic features of treadmill running. Twenty-six voluntary forefoot and rearfoot runners of similar age and body mass participated in the study. Each group completed two tests with a time interval of 3-7 days. The kinematic data was measured with the help of a three-dimensional measuring and analysis system while the volunteers ran on the treadmill. The fatigue protocol included an isometric maximal force test and an isokinetic endurance test. In order to check the differences, a variance analysis with repeated measurements was used. The strength values of the two groups of runners showed significant average differences in the plantar flexors in the endurance test and in the fatigue index for both the left and right legs. The results of the strength values are surprising because the plantar flexors of this group of runners should be well-trained due to the forefoot strike during regular running. In response to fatigue, the pressure maxima decreased under the exposed foot regions, i.e. under the forefoot at forefoot strike and under the heel at rearfoot strike. The two groups of runners differed in foot angle at foot-on with higher values measured in the forefoot runners. The larger foot angle of the forefoot runners improved shock absorption and can thus reduce the risk of injury.
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The purpose of this review study is to review the studies that have assessed the interaction between surface stiffness and lower limb stiffness. There is a general hypothesis that with the increase of surface stiffness, the lower limb stiffness decreases or vice versa. These interactions take place with the aim of maintaining the dynamics of the center of mass and reducing the energy consumption during movement. One of the mechanisms for these interactions is the change in joint stiffness and leg geometry. Some studies suggested that the stretch reflex has no role in changing the lower limb stiffness. Although interactions between lower limb stiffness and surface stiffness has been recognized, there is little evidence about neuromuscular mechanism of these interactions. More studies is needed in this filed.
Previous studies of level running suggest runners adjust foot strike to control leg stiffness. This study aimed to determine how runners adjusted mechanical stiffness and foot strike prior to, during, and after a drop in surface height. Ten healthy subjects (5 male, 5 female; 24.32 ± 5.0 years) were video recorded as they ran on an outdoor path with a single drop in surface height (12.5 cm). Foot strike was recorded, while subject velocity, duty factor (DF), normalized maximum ground reaction force (GRFbw), vertical hip displacement (Δy), leg compression (ΔL), vertical (Kvert) and leg stiffness (Kleg), touchdown (TD) and takeoff angle (TO), and flight (Tf) and contact time (Tc) were calculated. Compared to the step before the drop, Tf, GRFbw, Kvert, Kleg, and TO increased, while Tc, DF, Δy, ΔL, and TD decreased in the step after the drop. Across trials, runners had either consistent or variable foot strike patterns. Runners using a consistent pattern most often shifted from rear to fore-foot strike in the steps before and after the drop, while those with a variable pattern showed less dramatic shifts. All parameters, except TD, were significantly different (p < 0.04) based on foot strike pattern, and comparisons between steps before and after the drop (except TD) were significantly different (p < 0.004). Runners with a variable foot strike pattern experienced smaller shifts within mechanical parameters when traveling over the drop, suggesting these runners may be able to stabilize limb mechanics on interrupted surfaces.
Research is often conducted to investigate footwear mechanical properties and their effects on running biomechanics, but little is known about their influence on runner satisfaction, or how well the shoe is perceived. A tool to predict runner satisfaction in a shoe from its mechanical properties would be advantageous for footwear companies. Data in this study were from a database (n = 615 subject-shoe pairings) of satisfaction ratings (gathered after participants ran on a treadmill), and mechanical testing data for 87 unique subjects across 61 unique shoes. Random forest and elastic net logistic regression models were built to test if footwear mechanical properties and subject characteristics could predict runner satisfaction in 3 ways: degree-of-satisfaction on a 7-point Likert scale, overall satisfaction on a 3-point Likert scale, and willingness-to-purchase the shoe (yes/no response). Data were divided into training and validation sets, using an 80–20 split, to build the models and test their accuracy, respectively. Model accuracies were compared against the no-information rate (i.e. proportion of data belonging to the largest class). The models were not able to predict degree-of-satisfaction or overall satisfaction from footwear mechanical properties but could predict runner’s willingness to purchase with 68–75% accuracy. Midsole Gmax at the heel and forefoot appeared in the top five of variable importance rankings across both willingness-to-purchase models, suggesting its role as a major factor in purchase decisions. The negative regression coefficient for both heel and forefoot Gmax indicated that softer midsoles increase the likelihood of a shoe purchase. Future models to predict satisfaction may improve accuracy with the addition of more subject-specific parameters, such as running goals or foot proportions.
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The purpose of this study was to identify biomechanical and anthropometric variables that contribute to overuse injuries in runner. The comparisons were made between a group of runners who had sustained at least one overuse running injury and a group of runners who had been injury free throughout their running careers. Groups were well matched in important training variables. Synchronized kinetic and rearfoot kinematic variables of both feet were collected by filming subjects running over a force platform at a speed of 4 m.s-1. The injury-free group demonstrated significantly greater posterior thigh (hamstring) flexibility, as measured by a standard sit and reach test. This was the only anthropometric variable in which the groups differed. Within each group, there were no significant differences between left and right foot landing for any biomechanical variable. Biomechanical variables that demonstrated significantly lower values for the injury free group were the vertical force impact peak and the maximal vertical loading rate, with the maximal rate of rearfoot pronation and the touchdown supination angle showing a trend toward being greater in the injury free group. These results suggest that runners who have developed stride patterns that incorporate relatively low levels of impact forces, and a moderately rapid rate of pronation are at a reduced risk of incurring overuse running injuries. (HERACLES) Identification des variables biomecaniques et anthropometriques intervenant dans l'etiologie des lesions de fatigue des membres inferieurs chez les coureurs de fond.
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Using a 15-point rating scale, subjects rated perception of cushioning during running on a treadmill with three different footwear constructions of varying midsole hardness. During overground running, various biomechanical ground reaction force and pressure variables were collected and compared to the perception of cushioning scores. The perception scores identified the three shoes as very hard, medium soft, and soft. Peak pressures in the heel, the force rate, and the median power frequency of the impact force signal demonstrated increases in values with the perception of less cushioning. In the harder shoes, the subjects altered the loading patterns under their feet, resulting in lower impact forces and increased weight bearing of the forefoot structures.
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The notion of joint stiffness as commonly studied in biomechanics and motor control is compared with the physical definition of stiffness. The importance of elastic deformation and storage of elastic energy is stressed. Different terms are suggested in order to differentiate between experimentally observed relations between joint angle and torque that are likely to have different nature. A review of studies measuring stiffness of joint subcomponents and intact joints is presented. We suggest to either abandon the term ‘joint stiffness’ as misleading or to state up front stiffness of which of the joint components or subsystems is analyzed in each particular study. We also suggest that each study of ‘joint stiffness’ should clearly state to what extent the results are defined by the system's properties and to what extent they are reflections of the particular experimental procedure.
The purpose of this study was to compare the moment-angle relationship of the ankle joint during running and sprinting to determine how the dynamic angular stiffness is influenced by different activities. For both running and sprinting, the results indicated that the ankle joint produced an exclusively extensor moment, absorbing energy during the first half of the stance phase and producing energy during the second half. The biphasic nature of the joint absorbing energy followed by the joint producing energy, while continually creating an extensor moment, was similar to a spring being compressed and allowed to extend. The dynamic stiffness of the ankle joint was 5.68 N · m/°for running and 7.38 N · m/δ for sprinting. It appeared that the stiffness of the ankle joint was not specialized characteristic of each individual but rather a specialized characteristic of the activity or demand placed upon it.
Because of the increased popularity of running, interest has focussed on ways of reducing injurious skeletal shocks. This paper examines heel and toe strike running styles and the effect of shock attenuating materials in reducing foot/floor contact forces and skeletal shocks. Using a force plate and an accelerometer, 18volunteers (10 men, 8 women) were studied and the following observations made. Firstly, toe striking reduced the skeletal transients and the rate of rise of foot loading. Secondly, the three materials studied (PPT, Viscolas and Cleron) all reduced the rate of foot loading in heel strike, but only one (PPT) affected the skeletal transient peak height during toe strike. No other significant results were obtained.
Due to the increase in popularity of running or jogging as a pastime there has been an associated increase in injuries. Evidence of a causative link between excessive shock during running and these injuries has prompted a great deal of research interest centred around the reduction of the shock. This paper outlines the various ways in which shock is both produced and attenuated by the body. These include both active (proprioception, joint position, muscle tone) and passive (elasticity of bone, cartilage, synovial fluid and soft tissues) mechanisms and both are affected by the style of running. Artificial shock attenuation via footwear and/or insoles is discussed and the balance between shock attenuation and rearfoot control mentioned. It is found that as shock attenuation capacity increases, rearfoot control decreases, and this causes other injuries due to the lack of control. Therefore a balance has to be found between the two and this is suggested as an area for further research. The design of running shoes is examined and the sole shape and material is discussed with regard to improving running performance and reduction of injury.
Figure A.1 Walking Trial—Marker Locations and Mass and Frame Rate Information Table A.1 Raw Coordinate Data (cm) Table A.2(a) Filtered Marker Kinematics—Rib Cage and Greater Trochanter (Hip) Table A.2(b) Filtered Marker Kinematics—Femoral Lateral Epicondyle (Knee) and Head of Fibula Table A.2(c) Filtered Marker Kinematics—Lateral Malleolus (Ankle) and Heel Table A.2(d) Filtered Marker Kinematics—Fifth Metatarsal and Toe Table A.3(a) Linear and Angular Kinematics—Foot Table A.3(b) Linear and Angular Kinematics—Leg Table A.3(c) Linear and Angular Kinematics—Thigh Table A.3(d) Linear and Angular Kinematics—½ HAT Table A.4 Relative Joint Angular Kinematics—Ankle, Knee, and Hip Table A.5(a) Reaction Forces and Moments of Force—Ankle and Knee Table A.5(b) Reaction Forces and Moments of Force—Hip Table A.6 Segment Potential, Kinetic, and Total Energies—Foot, Leg, Thigh, and ½ HAT Table A.7 Power Generation/Absorption and Transfer—Ankle, Knee, and Hip
A review of the clinical records of two sports physicians identified 1,819 injuries in 1,650 running patients during a two-year period. Men comprised 59.8% of the total patients, and women under age 30 appeared to have the greatest risk of overuse running injuries. The knee was the most common site of complaint, accounting for 41.7% of all injuries. The least frequently involved areas were the lower back (3.7%) and upper leg (3.6% of total injuries). All anatomical regions were equally susceptible to injury in both sexes. Patellofemoral pain syndrome was the most frequent disorder, accounting for 25.8% of all injuries. Most patients had moderate to severe varus alignment and subsequent functional overpronation. Certain injuries were more frequent in one sex or the other, so we believe that our results should prompt other authors to differentiate incidence of injuries by sex in the future.