The purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of varying running shoe midsole composition on lower extremity dynamics with and without a custom foot orthotic intervention. Three-dimensional dynamics were collected on 12 female runners who had completed 6 weeks of custom foot orthotic therapy. Participants completed running trials in 3 running shoe midsole conditions—with and without a custom foot orthotic intervention. Results from the current study revealed that only maximum rearfoot eversion velocity was influenced by the midsole durometer of the shoe. Maximum rearfoot eversion velocity was significantly decreased for the hard shoe compared with the soft shoe. However, the orthotic intervention in the footwear led to significant decreases in several dynamic variables. The results suggest that the major component influencing the rearfoot dynamics was the orthotic device and not the shoe composition. In addition, data suggest that the foot orthoses appear to compensate for the lesser shoe stability enabling it to function in a way similar to that of a shoe of greater stability.
MacLean and Hamill are with the Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Amherst, MA, and Davis is with Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.