Can shoes with no cushioning reduce the risk of injury?
Research from the University of Exeter found landing on balls of your feet and wearing shoes with no cushioning puts less strain on your body.
Published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal the study measured the loading rate of runners (when their feet hit the ground), a factor in injury risk. Significantly lower loading rates were recorded of the 29 runners from those wearing ‘minimal’ trainers than people in standard running shoes.
Rearfoot strike (when landing on the heel of the foot) occurred more often with those wearing cushioned footwear while forefoot strike (when landing on the ball of the feet) occurred more with someone running without shoes or wearing minimal shoes. Landing on the heel of the foot results in ‘abrupt vertical impact force’, it is believed which is often missing from the forefoot strike.
Despite footwear being highly modifiable, runners experience injuries because inappropriate footwear are being purchased.
‘However, our research tells us that running with a forefoot strike in shoes that lack cushioning, and becoming accustomed to it, promotes landing on the balls of the with the lowest loading rates, and this may be beneficial in reducing the risk of injury.’ Lead Author of the study Dr Hannah Rice commented.