An Energy-Based Method for Testing Cushioning Durability of Running Shoes

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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A new method for quantifying shoe cushioning durability was developed. This method used a computer-controlled, closed-loop materials testing system to subject the shoes to force-time profiles that were indicative of running. The change in the magnitude of the maximum energy absorbed by a shoe and the change in the magnitude of the energy balance of the shoe were quantified after the shoe had been worn running for a given distance. A shoe that changed very little in these quantities had a small energy wear factor and was deemed to have durable cushioning. The test method was roughly validated through comparison of three shoes of different midsole constructions with known relative durabilities. The shoes were tested at four simulated running speeds for energy properties when they were new and after they were run in for 161 km. The relative durabilities of the tested shoes were consistent with expectations based on the shoes' materials and constructions, showing that the new method has promise in predicting shoe cushioning durability, and thus more complete studies of the method may prove useful.

Swigart is a graduate student and Erdman is with the faculty at the University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering. Cain is with MTS Systems Corp., Eden Prairie, MN. Request reprints from Arthur G. Erdman, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 125 Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 111 Church St., S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455.

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