The effects of shoes on the torsion and rearfoot motion in running

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991 Apr;23(4):482-90.


Excessive pronation is accepted as a good indicator for various running injuries. The least amount of pronation takes place when running barefoot. The latest investigations show that this is connected to a large torsional movement between forefoot and rearfoot which can be influenced by the shoe sole construction. The shoes which are in use among runners in track and field are basically of two types, running shoes (in general torsionally stiff) and spikes (torsionally flexible). The possibly varying effect of these shoes on the shoe/foot motion in running is not known. The purpose of this investigation was therefore to show whether the pronation angle and the torsion angle differ when running barefoot, with spikes, and with running shoes (forefoot touchdown, N = 9 left and right). A film analysis provided the angular movements of the lower leg, rearfoot, and forefoot as well as pronation and torsion in the frontal plane. The results show that at touchdown the torsional movements with both shoe types are quite different from those of running barefoot. With shoes, the torsion angle is reduced back to zero--with running shoes more than with spikes--and the pronation angle is increased beyond the barefoot values (P less than 0.01). In order to reduce the risk of injury, both shoe types should be improved--the running shoes with respect to torsion and the spikes with respect to pronation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / anatomy & histology
  • Achilles Tendon / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Foot / anatomy & histology
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Foot Injuries
  • Forefoot, Human / anatomy & histology
  • Forefoot, Human / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion*
  • Pronation
  • Running*
  • Shoes* / adverse effects
  • Torsion Abnormality