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The effect of running barefoot and in barefoot-style footwear on running economy at two self-determined speeds



The effect of running barefoot and in barefoot-style footwear on running economy at two self-determined speeds



Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2018



The impact of barefoot running and footwear choice on running economy (RE; steady state oxygen consumption) is heavily debated. Therefore, this study measured RE when running barefoot versus two shod conditions. Recreational male runners (N = 8) with experience running in both five- toed minimal (FTMS) and standard cushioned running shoes (SCRS), participated in RE trials while barefoot, FTMS, and SCRS for 5 minutes each trial at both 50% and 70% of speed at VO2max (sVO2max), while RE and step frequency (Sf) were measured. Separate one-way repeated measures ANOVA's were conducted for each footwear condition and each speed, on RE and Sf. No significant differences in RE were found at 50% or 70% sVO2max. Step frequency was significantly different at 70% sVO2max F (2, 14) = 6.74, p = 0.009, partial ω2 = 0.06, as running barefoot (M = 173.00, SD = 10.50) exhibited a higher step frequency than running in FTMS (M = 168.81, SD = 10.94), p = 0.008 or SCRS (M = 166.62, SD = 8.42), p = 0.044 conditions. No statistical RE benefit was found when running barefoot over FTMS or SCRS, possibly explained by a SF adaptation at higher speeds. However, practically speaking, when shoe mass is controlled for, footwear choice has a moderate but worthwhile effect on RE. Consequently, formal familiarization and/or training in the FTMS may improve RE when compared to running in SCRS or barefoot in certain individuals.

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Accession: 065939772

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30421873

DOI: 10.23736/s0022-4707.18.09105-3


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