Interaction of arch type and footwear on running mechanics

Robert J Butler, Irene S Davis, Joseph Hamill
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2006, 34 (12): 1998-2005

BACKGROUND: Running shoes are designed to accommodate various arch types to reduce the risk of lower extremity injuries sustained during running. Yet little is known about the biomechanical changes of running in the recommended footwear that may allow for a reduction in injuries.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the effects of motion control and cushion trainer shoes on running mechanics in low- and high-arched runners.

STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS: Twenty high-arched and 20 low-arched recreational runners (>10 miles per week) were recruited for the study. Three-dimensional kinematic and kinetics were collected as subjects ran at 3.5 ms(-1) +/- 5% along a 25-m runway. The motion control shoe evaluated was the New Balance 1122, and the cushioning shoe evaluated was the New Balance 1022. Repeated-measures analyses of variance were used to determine if low- and high-arched runners responded differently to motion control and cushion trainer shoes.

RESULTS: A significant interaction was observed in the instantaneous loading rate such that the low-arched runners had a lower instantaneous loading rate in the motion control condition, and the high-arched runners had a lower instantaneous loading rate in the cushion trainer condition. Significant main effects for shoe were observed for peak positive tibial acceleration, peak-to-peak tibial acceleration, mean loading rate, peak eversion, and eversion excursion.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that motion control shoes control rearfoot motion better than do cushion trainer shoes. In addition, cushion trainer shoes attenuate shock better than motion control shoes do. However, with the exception of instantaneous loading rate, these benefits do not differ between arch type.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Running footwear recommendations should be based on an individual's running mechanics. If a mechanical analysis is not available, footwear recommendations can be based empirically on the individual's arch type.


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