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Cushioning reduces the metabolic cost of running

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by toomoon, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

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    The latest study by Roger Kram and co workers found the following:
    Ten experienced barefoot runners (mean + SD, age: 30.2 + 9.1 yrs) ran at 3.35 m/s with a mid-foot strike pattern on a Quinton 18-60 motorized treadmill modified to have a calibrated digital readout of speed. This classic treadmill has a rigid steel deck. All subjects gave written informed consent as per the Univ. of Colorado IRB. The inclusion criteria were: >18 years of age, mid-foot strike preference both barefoot and with shoes, run at least 25 km/week, including at least 8 km/week barefoot or in minimal running footwear (e.g. Vibram Five Fingers) for at least 3 months out of the last year, injury-free, self-reported ability to sustain 5 min/km (3.3 m/s) running pace for at least 60 minutes, and meeting the criteria of the ACSM
    for minimal risk of exercise. To verify that subjects preferred a mid-foot strike pattern, they ran at their typical 10 km training pace across a 30m runway equipped with a force platform (AMTI, Watertown, MA) to which a sheet of paper was affixed. To orient foot placement with the force platform origin, we taped small pieces of marker pen felt to each subject’s right foot at 90, 70, and 33% of foot length (measured along the line between the heel and distal end of the second toe). We classified subjects as mid-foot strikers if the center of pressure at initial contact was between 33% and 70% of foot length. Subjects ran barefoot (BF) and in lightweight
    cushioned running shoes (SH) (Nike Free 3.0; ~211 g/shoe). Subjects also ran barefoot on the same treadmill with 10 mm and 20 mm thick slabs of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam affixed to the treadmill belt (Figure 2). The foam was identical to
    that used in the running shoes. Prior to testing, subjects completed a 10 minute treadmill acclimation trial. The 4 conditions consisted of: shod, barefoot, barefoot on 10 mm foam, and barefoot on 20 mm foam, performed in random order. A 3-minute rest period separated each of the running trials. We calculated metabolic power
    (W/kg) from rates of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production using the Brockway equation [5]. We calculated stride kinematics from high-speed digital video recordings (210 FPS, Casio EX-FH20).


    metabolic power requirements for running barefoot and in lightweight running shoes were not significantly different

    metabolic cost for barefoot running was 1.91% cheaper on the 10 mm foam compared to the rigid surface

    The reduction in metabolic cost on the 20mm thick surface was not statistically

    and finally

    "Based on the “1% rule”, we would expect that running in 210g shoes to be 2.10% more expensive than barefoot running. However, according to our
    data, it was essentially the same. 10 mm of foam cushioning (approximately the thickness of the forefoot shoe midsole) afforded a benefit of 1.91%.
    Thus, it appears that the positive effects of shoe cushioning counteract the negative effects of added mass, resulting in a metabolic cost for shod running approximately equal to that of barefoot running.

  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. As I have said several times before here on Podiatry Arena: in the same way that decreased shoe mass lowers metabolic cost, the increased leg stiffness afforded by the greater cushioning of the shoe lowers metabolic cost too. It's a play off twixt shoe mass and cushioning and their net influence. With only a 1% change in metabolic cost per 100g of shoe and because running shoes are generally pretty light anyway, there appears greater potential of influencing metabolic cost via cushioning. And the "magic" stiffness range is well documented.


    What's the stiffness range in the sole units of Asic's latest shoes, Simon?
  4. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

  5. Cushioing Reduces the Metabolic Cost of Running

    Here is an interesting paper from the 2012 American Society of Bioemchanics Meeting from a few months ago.


    Also, here is a good commentary on it from Alex Hutchinson.


    We are finally getting some good science that disproves all the anti-running shoe propaganda that Chris McDougall tried to sell to the masses with his book "Born to Run" and that people like Blaise Dubois, Mark Cucuzzella and Nick Campitelli continue to blindly promote, that running in shoes with cushioning is bad for you. Finally some common sense!!
  6. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    {Threads merged}
  7. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

    ESPN has an interesting spin on this:
    Can cushioned shoes give faster results?
  8. Read the comment after this article...probably one of Blaise's and Mark's friends...:boxing::butcher:;)
  9. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

    This is the comment-

    I have to agree - it does read like an info-mmercial.
    There is as much rhetoric in that article as any barefoot/minimalist article. I would be interested in seeing the science....

    The comment continues however-
    Ah!!! With the Internet these days it is so easy to pretend you are an expert and know what you are talking about :bang:
  10. whatever happened to the concept

    of N= 1 and good for some bad for others

    ? Confused of Stockholm
  11. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    It is however, the second article in a week in the mainstream media talking about a decline in interest in minimalism/barefoot
    I would love to know what science they actually think supports it!
  12. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Softer and more resilient running shoe cushioning properties enhance running economy
    Jay Worobets, John William Wannop, Elias Tomaras & Darren Stefanyshyn
    Footwear Science Published online: 17 Jun 2014
  13. Anyone that is familiar with the running biomechanics/physiology literature would not be surprised with the results from this study. Franz and Kram have already proposed the "Cost of Cushioning Hypothesis" showing in two of their studies that cushioned midsoles and cushioned surfaces can decrease the metabolic cost of running.

    In addition, the late Tom McMahon showed that his "tuned track" at Harvard decreased racing times by having his Harvard indoor track match the rebound frequency of the leg.

    The only problem is that those barefoot and minimalist running shoe zealots who have been preaching that cushioned midsoles are somehow bad for runners. Yes that means you, Chris McDougall, Blaise Dubois, Nick Campitelli, etc, etc!! These people, and their minions, will not like the findings from this study and will desperately find a way to discredit this study by some very good scientists.

    Right now, the barefoot and minimalist running shoe zealots are taking a very bad beating within the scientific literature...and I'm loving every second of it!!:D:cool::boxing:
  14. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Effects of Treadmill Cushion and Running Speed on Plantar Force and Metabolic Energy Consumption in Running
    Gait & Posture; 16 January 2019

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