Footwear and your running style

Does your footwear affect how you normally run?

It is hard to tell nowadays how we normally run, because we have allowed our footwear to dictate the way we run. But if we remove our footwear, will we run differently?

Brooks did a study on the effect of footwear on the way we run. More than 300 runners were involved in this study, involving all segments of the running spectrum. The runners were measured biomechanically – how their joints move and the forces applied to their body. Their demographic information was also taken – age, gender, mileage, number of years running, muscle strength, joint flexibility, and foot structure.

To get a baseline, runners are asked to run barefoot on a soft, foam surface. It is important to note that the baseline is not just barefoot running. The baseline is how you would run barefoot, and on a soft surface. By removing the footwear factor and the hard surface factor, we can see your natural running style in isolation.

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Once the baseline is established, runners are asked to run with shoes, on the same soft surface. If the landing pattern with shoes is different from the landing patterns without shoes, then we know that the measures collected would not represent their natural habitual joint motion.

Next, we tried to find out which variables are influenced when you change your footwear. How much of our knee movement or ankle movement is affected by our shoes, and how far does it throw us off our natural habitual joint motion? We gathered data on more than 200 variables.

Finally, a factor analysis was done to find out the sensitivity of every variable. The goal was to find out which are the highly sensitive variables, and which are the lowly sensitive (or insensitive) ones.

We found that one of the most sensitive variables is what the biomechanical community calls the “Free Moment”.

The Transcend is on to something.

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