Are some running shoes changing how kids run?

A recent study suggests that the type of running shoes teenage athletes wear could impact their performance. Photo:

A new study suggests there’s a correlation between thick, padded shoes and performance.

Maybe the minimalist shoe is here to stay after all.

There are a large number of running shoes on the market that feature thick, heavily-padded heels. The thought behind them is to cushion the foot against the forces that are exerted on it while running.

But a new study that looked at teenage runners says differently.

Twelve adolescent track and field athletes ran on a treadmill wearing shoes with large heels, track shoes (flats) and no shoes at four different speeds during a test with researchers. High-speed cameras recorded every foot strike and when the data was examined, it was discovered that the heavy-soled shoes were the worst offenders in the battle against heel striking.

Researchers said the runners landed on their heels about 70 percent of the time while wearing the shoes. When they wore track flats or ran barefoot, the number dropped to less than 35 and 30 percent, respectively.

That’s a big difference.

“What we found is that simply by changing their footwear, the runners’ foot strike would change,” said Dr. Scott Mullen, an orthopedic surgeon at The University of Kansas Hospital. “When they ran in the cushioned heel or an average running shoe — even when running a 5-minute mile — the athletes landed on their heel first.”

Mullen also said that training in shoes with think heels and then competing in smaller track spikes “may give them less of a [performance] advantage [in competition].”

For more: Science Daily

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