American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting

April 08, 2013
1 min read

Cushioned training shoe may negatively affect competitive performance of adolescents

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Kansas researchers have found that type of running shoe has a significant impact on biomechanics in competitive adolescent running athletes and that heavily cushioned heel training shoes may negatively affect performance.

“Running barefoot or running in less of a running shoe is a newer trend,” Scott Mullen, MD, orthopedic surgeon at The University of Kansas Hospital, stated in a press release. “What we were trying to evaluate is whether or not the foot strike would change in an adolescent – who doesn’t yet have a permanently established gate – when they changed their shoe or running speed.”

The heel cushioned shoes provided a disadvantage to the athletes because the shoes gave their foot a “heel-strike” performance during training which would then change when they competed in shoes with track spikes that promote forefoot or midfoot strike patterns, according to the release. Athletes using cushioned training shoes struck the ground first using their heel 69.79% of the time regardless of speed, while running in track flats or barefoot yielded a heel strike first less than 35% and 30% of the time, respectively.

The researchers suggested that wearing a cushioned heel shoe may hinder performance in competitive environments, but noted that more research is needed to determine whether a cushioned heel would negatively affect athletes who have not yet developed a running style, according to the abstract.


Mullen SM. Poster #413. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 19-23, 2013; Chicago.

Disclosure: Mullen has no relevant financial disclosures.