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The influence of barefoot and barefoot-inspired footwear on the kinetics and kinematics of running in comparison to conventional running shoes
Jonathan Sinclair, Andrew Greenhalgh, Darrell Brooks, Christopher James Edmundson & Sarah Jane Hobbs Footwear Science (in press)
Background: Barefoot running has been the subject of much attention in footwear biomechanics literature, based on the supposition that it serves to reduce the occurrence of overuse injuries in comparison to conventional shoe models. This consensus has led footwear manufacturers to develop shoes that aim to mimic the mechanics of barefoot locomotion.
Objectives: This study compared the impact kinetics and three-dimensional (3-D) joint angular kinematics observed while running barefoot, in conventional cushioned running shoes and in shoes designed to integrate the perceived benefits of barefoot locomotion. The aim of the current investigation was therefore to determine whether differences in impact kinetics exist between the footwear conditions and whether shoes that aim to simulate barefoot movement patterns can closely mimic the 3-D kinematics of barefoot running.
Method: Twelve participants ran at 4.0 m s−1 (±5%) in each footwear condition. Angular joint kinematics from the hip, knee and ankle in the sagittal, coronal and transverse planes were measured using an eight-camera motion analysis system. In addition, simultaneous tibial acceleration and ground reaction forces were obtained. Impact parameters and joint kinematics were subsequently compared using repeated-measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs).
Results: The kinematic analysis indicated that, in comparison to the conventional and barefoot-inspired shoes, running barefoot was associated with significantly greater plantar–flexion at footstrike and range of motion to peak dorsiflexion. Furthermore, the kinetic analysis revealed that, compared to the conventional footwear, impact parameters were significantly greater in the barefoot condition.
Conclusions: This study suggests that barefoot running is associated with impact kinetics linked to an increased risk of overuse injury when compared to conventional shod running. Furthermore, the mechanics of the shoes that aim to simulate barefoot movement patterns do not seem to closely mimic the kinematics of barefoot locomotion.
Re: Impact parameters were significantly greater in the barefoot running
Here is some data from the study:
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