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Ewald M. Hennig and Thomas L. Milani

Discrete pressure sensors were used to examine the influence of shoe construction on the local forces under the foot. Measurements were performed at eight locations under the feet of 22 subjects wearing 19 different models of running shoes. Mechanical properties of shoe soles were assessed with an impacter device. Pressure distribution, ground reaction force, and acceleration data were collected simultaneously during running at 3.3 m/s. Early lateral loading of the rearfoot was followed by increasing medial forefoot loads. In the later phase of pushoff the load was almost entirely carried by the first metatarsal head and the hallux. Substantial differences in plantar foot pressures and relative loads among shoe models indicated that footwear construction has a substantial influence on the loading behavior of the foot during ground contact. Finally, the chosen sensor locations under the foot were found to be adequate to estimate the vertical ground reaction force.

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Ewald M. Hennig, Thomas L. Milani, and Mario A. Lafortune

Ground reaction force data and tibial accelerations from a skin-mounted transducer were collected during rearfoot running at 3.3 m/s across a force platform. Five repetitive trials from 27 subjects in each of 19 different footwear conditions were evaluated. Ground reaction force as well as tibial acceleration parameters were found to be useful for the evaluation of the cushioning properties of different athletic footwear. The good prediction of tibial accelerations by the maximum vertical force rate toward the initial force peak (r 2 = .95) suggests that the use of a force platform is sufficient for the estimation of shock-absorbing properties of sport shoes. If an even higher prediction accuracy is required a regression equation with two variables (maximum force rate, median power frequency) may be used (r 2 = .97). To evaluate the influence of footwear on the shock traveling through the body, a good prediction of peak tibial accelerations can be achieved from force platform measurements.

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Thomas L. Milani, Gerrit Schnabel, and Ewald M. Hennig

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of 8° varus and vaigus shoe modifications on the foot mechanics in overground running. Twenty male subjects performed eight rearfoot running trials in three shoe conditions. Ground reaction forces, tibial accelerations, rearfoot motion, and in-shoe pressure distribution data were collected simultaneously. Between footwear conditions, force and acceleration parameters were found to be significantly different. Compared to the neutral shoe, maximum pronation and pronation velocity were reduced for the varus and increased for the vaigus shoes. Higher lateral rearfoot loads and an increased contribution of the first ray in the forefoot could be evaluated for the vaigus shoe. In contrast, a larger contribution of the medial midfoot and the fifth metatarsal head was observed for the varus shoe. The relative load analysis from the pressure distribution measurements provided additional information about the behavior of the foot in response to major changes in shoe construction.