Background: Shoe manufacturers market motion control, stability, and cushioned shoes for plantar shapes defined as low, normal, and high, respectively. This assignment procedure is presumed to reduce injuries by compensating for differences in running mechanics.
Hypothesis: Assigning running shoes based on plantar shape will not reduce injury risk in Marine Corps basic training.
Study design: Randomized controlled clinical trial; Level of evidence, 1.
Methods: After foot examinations, Marine Corps recruits in an experimental group (E: 408 men, 314 women) were provided motion control, stability, or cushioned shoes for plantar shapes indicative of low, medium, or high arches, respectively. A control group (C: 432 men, 257 women) received a stability shoe regardless of plantar shape. Injuries during the 12 weeks of training were determined from outpatient visits obtained from the Defense Medical Surveillance System. Other known injury risk factors (eg, fitness, smoking, prior physical activity) were obtained from a questionnaire, existing databases, or the training units.
Results: Cox regression indicated little difference in injury risk between the E and C groups among men (hazard ratio [E/C] = 1.01; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-1.24) or women (hazard ratio [E/C] = 0.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.70-1.10).
Conclusion: This prospective study demonstrated that assigning shoes based on the shape of the plantar foot surface had little influence on injuries even after considering other injury risk factors.