Using a 15-point rating scale, subjects rated perception of cushioning during running on a treadmill with three different footwear constructions of varying midsole hardness. During overground running, various biomechanical ground reaction force and pressure variables were collected and compared to the perception of cushioning scores. The perception scores identified the three shoes as very hard, medium soft, and soft. Peak pressures in the heel, the force rate, and the median power frequency of the impact force signal demonstrated increases in values with the perception of less cushioning. In the harder shoes, the subjects altered the loading patterns under their feet, resulting in lower impact forces and increased weight bearing of the forefoot structures.
Ewald M. Hennig is with Biomechanik Labor, Universitӓt Essen, Postfach 103 764, 45117 Essen, Germany. Gordon A. Valiant and Qi Liu are with the Nike Research Laboratory, Beaverton, OR 97005-6453.