The authors aimed to determine the effects of barefoot (BF) and several commercially available barefoot-inspired (BFIS) footwear models on limb and joint stiffness characteristics compared with conventional footwear (CF). Fifteen male participants ran over a force platform at 4.0 m.s(-1), in BF, BFIS, and CF conditions. Measures of limb and joint stiffness were calculated for each footwear. The results indicate that limb and knee stiffness were greater in BF and minimalist BFIS than in CF. CF and more structured BFIS were associated with a greater ankle stiffness compared with BF and minimalist BFIS. These findings serve to provide further insight into the susceptibility of runners to different injury mechanisms as a function of footwear.
Keywords: barefoot; biomechanics; running; stiffness.