Can running shoes control motion?

I have been meaning to look at this issue in a lot more depth for a while now as my understanding of the preponderance of literature (which I freely admit I have not looked closely at again recently, hence wanting to have a closer look) is that on average, running shoes, specifically ‘motion control’ shoes, don’t control motion. I wanted to have a closer look at the numbers in the various studies from the perspective that maybe on average they don’t affect motion, but what is the more subject specific data looking like. For example do some runners respond in one direction (ie motion is controlled) and some runners respond in the other direction (ie motion is increased), so on average there is no difference (which I think would probably be the current consensus of those familiar with that body of literature).

Before getting to that, the study below just appeared on this very topic. I do not have access to the full text and only the abstract below (and even if I did, I might not be able to read it as it appears to be in French):

Tibiocalcaneal kinematics during barefoot and in barefoot-inspired shoes in comparison to conventional running footwear
Jonathan Sinclair, Sarah Jane Hobbs, Graham Currigan, Marcus Giannandrea and Paul John Taylor
Movement & Sport Sciences – Science & Motricité 83, 67-75 (2014)
Excessive coronal and transverse plane motions of the ankle and tibia are linked to the development of a number of chronic injuries. This study examined differences in tibiocalcaneal kinematics between barefoot and shod running and also between several barefoot inspired footwear models in relation to barefoot and shod running. Sixteen male participants ran at 4.0 m.s-1 in each footwear condition. Tibiocalcaneal kinematics were measured using an eight-camera motion analysis system and compared using repeated-measures ANOVA The results indicate that the barefoot and more minimal barefoot inspired footwear models were associated with significantly greater eversion and tibial internal rotation parameters in running in conventional footwear. The observations of this investigation have potential clinical relevance as excessive eversion/tibial internal rotation are implicated in the aetiology of injury.

I have no more information than what is in the abstract (and am well aware of those risks; see this) but guess its not as clear cut as we previously believed. Running shoes can control motion:

The results indicate that the barefoot and more minimal barefoot inspired footwear models were associated with significantly greater eversion and tibial internal rotation parameters in running in conventional footwear.

As always, I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise.

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11 Responses to Can running shoes control motion?

  1. Peter Larson February 1, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    The question for me is if the study looked at motion of the shoe or motion of the foot inside the shoe in light of Stacoff’s work on the topic.

    I have some crude video of myself running in a variety of shoes taken a few weeks ago. Traditional stability shoes do seem to reduce rear foot eversion, but I can’t see what my foot is doing inside the shoe. More importantly, I find them slappy and rigid to run in and am much more comfortable running in a softer neutral shoe even though I’d guess most shoe shops would “prescribe” me stability. But, if there was a clinical need to reduce eversion then it would be nice to know that shoes do what they are claimed to do.

    • Craig Payne February 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      Given that they measured tibial rotation; the marker set would be the same between condition’s, so that appears that they did not measure the motion of the shoe. Maybe someone can get the full paper and read the french.

      I just got Cheung’s Phd thesis from 2010 – going through the subject data in the thesis (that you often don’t get in jnl publications), there is an obvious subject specific response going on.

  2. Mark Richard February 1, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    A display of inteligence, claiming authority which to me is predominently a cover for the total opposite.
    Stop naval gazing and complicating the subject.

    • simon Bartold February 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

      2 l’s in intelligence…

      • Mark Richard February 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

        Thanks Simon Boretold!

      • Mark Richard February 2, 2014 at 12:05 am #

        Capital S in Simon?

      • Kevin A. Kirby, DPM February 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

        Not to mention that he said you shouldn’t be gazing at ships instead of saying you shouldn’t be gazing at your belly button.

        That Mark guy….he’s a smart one….he is!

  3. simon Bartold February 2, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    just sayin’ Mark.. no one has any idea what you are talking about..

    • Mark Richard February 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

      If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS! lol

  4. Mark Richard February 4, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    Craig could you reign in people who attempt to create red herrings by pointing out spelling mistakes.
    You never stoop that low.
    Keep up the good work

  5. Geoffrey Gray February 14, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Interesting article. I am familiar with some work done at USC where they compared the rotational movement of the tibia using bone pins versus 3d sensors and they found the 3D motion capture is not valid compared to the pins (aka the gold standard). MoCap is great for sagittal and coronal plane movements, but not transverse/rotational.

    Just throwing it out there that this data might not be as accurate as we’d like it to be…

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