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Studies of running mechanics often use a standardized lab shoe, ostensibly to reduce variance between subjects; however, this may induce unnatural running mechanics. The purpose of this study was to compare the step rate, vertical average loading rate, and ground contact time when running in standardized lab shoes versus participants’ normal running shoes. Ground reaction forces were measured while the participants ran overground in both shoe conditions at a self-selected speed. The Student’s t-test revealed that the vertical average loading rate magnitude was smaller in lab shoes versus normal shoes (42.09 [11.08] vs 47.35 [10.81] body weight/s, P = .013), while the step rate (170.92 [9.43] vs 168.98 [9.63] steps/min, P = .053) and ground contact time were similar (253  vs 251  ms, P = .5227) and the variance of all outcomes was similar in lab shoes versus normal shoes. Our results indicate that using standardized lab shoes during testing may underestimate the loads runners actually experience during their typical mileage.
Hunter, Smith, Sciarratta, Shim, and Miller are with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA. Suydam is with Algovation, LLC, Chicago, IL, USA. Shim and Miller are also with the Neuroscience & Cognitive Science Program, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA. Shim is also with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea.