The Effect of Varying Midsole Hardness on impact Forces and Foot Motion during Foot Contact in Running

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics

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Brigit De Wit
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Dirk De Clercq
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Matthieu Lenoir
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of midsole hardness on both impact forces and rearfoot motion. Seven trained male long-distance runners were assessed with a Kistler force plate and with high-speed video, while running at 4.5 ± 0.1 m · s"1 with soft and hard shoe soles (EVA; soft shore Asker C40; hard shore Asker C65). The results showed smaller initial vertical impact peaks, occurring with a higher loading rate, and a significantly larger and faster initial eversion when subjects ran with hard shoes. Support is given to the concept that a more pronounced initial eversion offers an additional deceleration mechanism (Stacoff, Denoth, Kaelin, & Stuessi, 1988) also increasing the eccentric loading of the inverting muscles. On the other hand, during midstance soft shoe soles were found to produce a larger maximum eversion and pronation, also imposing an increased load on the same muscles. So, a good running shoe should be focused on a balance between reducing impact forces and reducing overpronation.

The authors are with the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Pedagogics, University of Gent, Watersportlaan 2, B - 9000 Gent, Belgium.

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