A 4-week instructed minimalist running transition and gait-retraining changes plantar pressure and force

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Dec;24(6):964-73. doi: 10.1111/sms.12121. Epub 2013 Sep 5.


The purpose of this study is to compare changes in plantar pressure and force using conventional running shoes (CRS) and minimalist footwear (MFW) pre and post a 4-week MFW familiarization period. Ten female runners (age: 21 ± 2 years; stature: 165.8 ± 4.5 cm; mass: 55.9 ± 3.2 kg) completed two 11 km/h treadmill runs, 24 hours apart, in both CRS and MFW (pretest). Plantar data were measured using sensory insoles for foot strike patterns, stride frequency, mean maximum force ( M ⁢ F ¯ ), mean maximum pressure ( M ⁢ P ¯ ) and eight mean maximum regional pressures. Subjects then completed a 4-week familiarization period consisting of running in MFW and simple gait-retraining, before repeating the tests (posttest). During the pretests, 30% of subjects adopted a forefoot strike in MFW, following familiarization this increased to 80%; no change occurred in CRS. A significant decrease in M ⁢ F ¯ in both MFW and CRS (P = 0.024) was observed from pre-post, and a significant decrease in heel pressures in MFW. M ⁢ P ¯ was higher in MFW throughout testing (P < 0.001).A 4-week familiarization to MFW resulted in a significant reduction in M ⁢ F ¯ in both the CRS and MFW conditions, as well as a reduction in heel pressures. Higher M ⁢ P ¯ was observed throughout testing in the MFW condition.

Keywords: barefoot running; biomechanics; footwear; injury; running performance; running technique.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Shoes*
  • Sports Equipment*
  • Weight-Bearing
  • Young Adult