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Brooks Proposes Radical Shift in the Running Shoe Paradigm

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Craig Payne, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator


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    There is a bit of a buzz starting up around about this, but what is it?

    From Brooks:

    Brooks introduces the concept of Stride Signature

    I have attached the white paper.

    What say you?
  2. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Have Brooks got Benno on board now?
  3. Craig, from a quick look it seems to be stuff we were banging on about 2-3 years ago.

    Prefered motion pathways and leg stiffness , basically n=1 , path of least resistance equals bodies best running form due to reduced metabolic requirements to perform task.

    The only issue is each environmental situation will mean a change in leg stiffness, motion pathways etc to perform task with reduced energy costs, so to pick the right shoe is still hard.

    But if my scan is correct a massive step forward . All about tuning springs whichnthe shoe can add in at the surface interface, can do the opposite of course, will have a good read when I get time.

    Looks good from my scan if you cut through the marketing
  4. OK, a quick read on my i-phone: Brooks are at great pains to point out the uniqueness of what they call an individuals "stride signature"(I like this term). Basically as me colleagues have already suggested this is a combination of preferred movement pathway and zone of optimal stress (ZOOS). Then they talk about a cluster analysis which segregated the runners into four groups- I'm guessing they're going to have four different types of shoes in their range. The have some sort of predictive model which is based on lots and lots of measurements from their sample which predicts the "stride signature" of an individual to be within one of these four groups- so, "Jonny Saturday staff" is going to take all the measurements required, pop the numbers into the predictive model, then tell you which of the four shoes you need... OK?

    But... unless I missed something (and I may have done as it was only a quick read) their model was built from data obtained from elite runners at the American Olympic trials... Can anyone see potential problems with extrapolating this data to average weekend warrior/ middle aged dieter/ fun run plodder etc?

    P.S. it might be a "paradigm shift" for Brooks, but it's not for me and many of my colleagues as we already practice biomechanics in this way.
  5. KBruce

    KBruce Member

    There is an abstract in Footwear Science for the footwear biomechanics symposium titled free moment patterns in distance running. Joseph Hamill is amongst authors and they performed trials on 120 subjects in a 'neutral' shoe to assess the free moment variability.
    There conclusion was "...the fact that intra-subject variability is considerably smaller than inter-subject variability highlights the potential of free moment patterns for running style classification" it goes on "therefore, minimising free moment amplitude might be a target of running style optimisation but also criterion for running shoe design.
    This study was fully funded by....Brooks.
    Is this where they are heading with their 'radical proposal' today?
  6. Yep, it's the free moment (the moment about a vertical axis with it's point of origin at the centre of pressure) that they performed the cluster analysis on to obtain four distinct groups. The predictors in the model were: running experience, gender, age, height, mass, foot shape (whatever that is), navicular drop, relative navicular height in sitting, coupling eversion internal rotation, maximal external rotation, maximal internal rotation, maximal plantarflexion, maximal dorsiflexion, knee extensor strength, plantarflexor strength, toe flexor strength and weekly mileage. If they can train the sales staff to measure these variables accurately and reliably then they'll be able to predict the free moment category of their customers and put them into the correct Brooks shoe for them. Forgive me if I sound sceptical, but they're going to struggle with this in a shop setting. I'm guessing someone at Brooks is working on a measurement jig as we speak.

    The model will have 95% confidence intervals associated with it which means that when an individuals data is put into the model there will be "grey area", so even if the sales staff can measure these variables accurately there will still be an element of guess work, or a probabilty that the punter will be put into the wrong free moment group, if you prefer. Add into that between day error and variable accuracy of measurements between assessors and your chances of identifying the correct shoe for the punter go down again. Again, you need to look at the ranges of each of these predctors that were measured from the subjects used to build the model, for example if the heaviest person in the models data set was 150 pounds, you are into the realms of extrapolation if your potential shoe customer weighs 200 pounds; same for all the other variables.

    It's good though that they are taking this approach of modelling, just hope that they are backing the right horse in "free moment".
  7. Stride Signature: Yet another attempt by a running shoe company to develop a system by which to get more runners into their company's shoes with no scientific evidence that this "shoe fitting system" is predictive of optimal shoe fit and function.

    In other words, after the Stride Signature process fails, the runner and shoe salesperson will go back to trial and error, just as it has been done for the last three decades within the running shoe sales industry.:bang:
  8. efuller

    efuller MVP

    How much difference will it make if someone is in the wrong shoe. How different will the shoes be? I could see a different shoe for a forefoot striker as opposed to a rearfoot striker. Was that even one of the variables? How do you make a shoe differently for the different signatures. On the other hand a medially deviated STJ axis foot should do better in a shoe that attempts to shift the center of pressure more medially.

  9. Depends whether or not it places one of the persons tissues outside of it's zone of optimal stress.

    Don't know, I don't work for Brooks

    No, the groups were categorised by free moment. Hence one assumes that the shoes will be designed to work best for each of the four free moment groups. Strike position was not included in the predictive model which catergorised the free moment groups. The predictors in the model were: running experience, gender, age, height, mass, foot shape (whatever that is), navicular drop, relative navicular height in sitting, coupling eversion internal rotation, maximal external rotation, maximal internal rotation, maximal plantarflexion, maximal dorsiflexion, knee extensor strength, plantarflexor strength, toe flexor strength and weekly mileage.

    We'll have to wait until Brooks launches its new range to find out, but they empoyed non-Newtonian polymers in their last range.

    STJ axis position was not used as a predictor in their model. As I said previously, Brooks seem to be backing the "free moment" as being the significant factor and have built a model to predict this; I'm not sure if this is the right horse to back when it comes to running performance, Brook's (and Joe Hamill) appear to think it is. Perhaps someone could ask Joe to comment here?

    From the white paper: "Our research shows there is a large proportion of runners who can
    self-select footwear because they maintain their natural movement patterns whether in an unloaded or loaded state. For those runners
    who did deviate from their natural corridors, we have identified three distinct patterns of deviation. For these runners, we can see how
    different shoe conditions can move them closer or farther away from their Natural Habitual Joint Motion. We continue to explore this
    concept to help us answer the question: “What is the right shoe for you?”"
  10. RobinP

    RobinP Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I am missing something here but having 18 predictors to allow a selection of 4 shoes which will, presumably, be reasonably similar in structure, using a very limited number of materials for ? one last shape? seems to be little better than giving 3 shoe choices based on one predictor as is currently the case.

    I would have thought strike pattern would have been an included predictor?
  11. Ray Anthony

    Ray Anthony Active Member


    I'd be grateful for a quick explanation of the Free Moment of Ground Reaction (MZ'). I understand it's torque around a vertical axis at the shoe ground interface, but how is it measured and quantified?


    Ray Anthony
  12. Ray:

    The free moment is measured with a force plate and represents the transverse plane "twisting" moment of the foot/shoe mechanical interaction with the force plate. By using the fore-aft shear and medial-lateral shear forces, the free moment can be calculated about the center of pressure (CoP) at any instant in time during walking, running or any other weightbearing activity with a force plate.
  13. Ray,
    In addition to Kevin's linky, here is a nice little video explaining free moment and also a description within the paper linked to below.

  14. Also, here is one of the papers that Simon posted up a link on by Joe Hamill and coworkers on free moment as a predictor of female distance runners who had previously developed tibial stress fractures.

  15. Andrew Ayres

    Andrew Ayres Active Member

    Can someone help me here. I like the idea of prefered motion pathway being the path of least resistance and therefore most energy efficient. Then I think of a typical beginner runner or a runner that's never had any coaching and there is no way their movement is energy efficient. My question is do people have to learn their preferred motion pathway and how do we as health professionals determin what a persons prefered motion pathway is?
  16. Why do you draw the conclusion that "there is no way their movement is energy efficient"? Energy efficient for whom (who's movement pattern are you comparing them to?)? Which kinematic components predict metabolic cost of locomotion?

    Starter for ten: http://www.ihmc.us/dwc2012files/OConnor.pdf
  17. Andy:

    Benno Nigg's Preferred Motion Pathway theory is just that, only a theory. There is some evidence that supports it but I'm not so sure that it is inclusive enough to make it something that will stand the test of time.

    In general, animals will tend to self-select their most metabolically efficient method of performing an activity over time, whether that activity is walking, running or any other activity. This likely involves a sensory feedback system to the central nervous system that allows the individual to optimize the muscle firing sequences and patterns that demands the least metabolic energy cost. However, in more complex and technical activities, such as swimming, obviously proper instruction may be needed for the individual to become the most metabolically efficient.

    For walking in an adult, you can probably assume that they walk with their most metabolically efficient style since they have been doing it for so long. However, for runners, especially relatively inexperienced runners, my experience is that they often have not yet found their most metabolically efficient running form and may need some coaching or more time for that to occur. In experienced runners, (i.e. those who have run regularly, over 3-5 times a week, for over two to three years), they will likely have a fairly efficient running stride.

    As a clinician, you will not know if the runner is using their most energy-efficient stride when you observe them running but you can certainly make suggestions for them if they look obviously inefficient. Small changes in form can make a big difference for many runners. If you don't feel comfortable assessing a runner's form, then go out and watch the distance runners at the local college run their workouts and see check out their form. These competitive runners, in general, will tend to have better running form than the vast majority of recreational runners and can give you valuable insight into what type of running form is proper and not so proper for the more average runner.
  18. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/11/03/rspb.2011.2015.full I disagree partly with Kevin, I think that when one observes the novice, they are running with the metabolically efficient "form" which pertains to the biomechanical and sensory motor "skill-set" which they possess (strength, control, co-ordination etc). When one views experienced runners they are also running with the most metabolically efficient "form" which pertains to their biomechanical and sensory motor "skill set"; the difference is in the biomechanical and sensory motor skill sets between the groups. Both are being as metabolically efficient as possible with "what they've got" at that time.

    So if we had someone running in a lab in their self selected style and collected their metabolic data, do you beleve that the imediate effect of instruction to change their running style could result in an immediate decrease in metabolic cost there and then?
  19. Andrew Ayres

    Andrew Ayres Active Member

    Over a short period of time, if they are able to avoid injury their movement becomes more fluid and looks more energy efficient. With a good coach a runners gait changes and their ability improves as a result. I find it hard to believe that this is just due to improved fitness, though I'm happy to be convinced otherwise.
  20. And of course, the body wat to avoid injury- which may partially explain the Miller et al, results. I'll ask you again, what predicts metabolic efficiency? What does "more energy efficient" "look" like? I don't think anyone mentioned fitness, but while you are in: what predicts: "fitness"?

    Here's a thought, lets take Mo Farrah and have him train at sea level for a few months. We measure his metabolic cost of running over a known distance; now lets take the Mobot to altitude and have him train there for a few months then repeat the metabolic testing. Would we a) expect his kinematic pattern to have changed? b) expect to see changes in his metabolic efficiency? Why?
  21. This experiment has been done before, by my cross-country coach at UC Davis, who also happened to be a renowned PhD in environmental exercise physiology, William C. Adams, and my professor in a graduate course I took on the Environmental Effects on Physical Performance during my senior year at UCD,

  22. Probably the changes would require about three to four weeks of practice for the runners neuromuscular system to adapt to the new motor activity. But after that, I would imagine that their running would become more efficient. However, in some extreme cases, such as the extreme over-striding beginning runner, you may be able to measure oxygen uptake differences immediately with a change to a shorter stride.
  23. Ray Anthony

    Ray Anthony Active Member

    Spoons and Kevin: Thanks for the references on the Free Moment.

    Simon, I'd like to get your opinion on a biomechanics project I'm currently working on for an orthopaedics company. I'd be grateful if you would make contact by e-mail: ranthony@podiatry.ky. Thanks.
  24. Ray Anthony

    Ray Anthony Active Member

    Could it have been possible for Usain Bolt to have been LESS metabolically efficient during his 200m WR performance (19.19) in Berlin in 2009, than during the 19.30 seconds it took him to run the same distance in Beijing in 2008?
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  25. Aerobic versus anaerobic.
  26. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    If you read the Brooks white paper on this last yr when they announced this, one comment that keep coming up is what did they mean by "guide rails' and how did it fit into the paradigm that they were proposing.

    Here is an advert for the Brooks Transcend (discussed in this thread and hitting retailers in the USA on 1 feb). It has "guide rails" .... but i still none the wiser as to exactly what they are!

    Attached Files:

  27. Ray Anthony

    Ray Anthony Active Member

  28. Will these newer maximalist shoes become so popular that people like Chris McDougall, Blaise Dubois, Dan Lieberman, Mark Cuccuzella and the other minimalist/barefoot fanatics eventually will, over time, be ignored and forgotten?

    I hope so.....;):D:butcher:
  29. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    It was over 2 yrs ago that Brooks proposed this. They finally fully rolling out the concept in their Spring 2016 line up ... watch this space.
  30. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

  31. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Press Release:
    Brooks Running Company Doubles Down on Footwear Business with New Talent in Design and
    Performance footwear veterans join Brooks and set sights on next-level running experiences
  32. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Ùpdate video on this from Brooks:


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