Midsole Thickness Affects Running Patterns in Habitual Rearfoot Strikers During a Sustained Run

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 New Balance Sports Research Laboratory
  • 2 University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • 3 Exeter Research, Inc.
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The purpose of this study was to: (1) investigate how kinematic patterns are adjusted while running in footwear with THIN, MEDIUM, and THICK midsole thicknesses and (2) determine if these patterns are adjusted over time during a sustained run in footwear of different thicknesses. Ten male heel-toe runners performed treadmill runs in specially constructed footwear (THIN, MEDIUM, and THICK midsoles) on separate days. Standard lower extremity kinematics and acceleration at the tibia and head were captured. Time epochs were created using data from every 5 minutes of the run. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used (P < .05) to determine differences across footwear and time. At touchdown, kinematics were similar for the THIN and MEDIUM conditions distal to the knee, whereas only the THIN condition was isolated above the knee. No runners displayed midfoot or forefoot strike patterns in any condition. Peak accelerations were slightly increased with THIN and MEDIUM footwear as was eversion, as well as tibial and thigh internal rotation. It appears that participants may have been anticipating, very early in their run, a suitable kinematic pattern based on both the length of the run and the footwear condition.

Trampas M. TenBroek and Pedro A. Rodrigues are with the New Balance Sports Research Laboratory at New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., Lawrence, MA, and the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA. Edward C. Frederick is with Exeter Research, Inc., in Brentwood, NH. Joseph Hamill is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA.

Address author correspondence to Trampas M. TenBroek at trampas.tenbroek@newbalance.com.