Background: in soccer, balance ability is important to reduce non-contact injuries. The effect of footwear on balance is poorly understood in this sport. Soccer boots and futsal trainers need to guarantee a good grip on compliant surfaces. Running shoes are designed to reduce friction on rigid su rfaces. The purpose of the present study was to investigate these types of shoes on balance ability.
Methods: twenty-four healthy male volunteers were recruited from amateur soccer teams. They were ask to perform the BESS (Balance Error Scoring System) test to measure the number of instability episodes in 6 conditions: double-leg, single-leg, and tandem stances on firm and foam surfaces. Anova with factor (several shoes) and Bonferroni were used to compare the means of two subtotal scores (firm and foam surface) and the final total score (BESS).
Results: the three shoe models led to greater stability than when the subject was barefoot (p=0.001). Only on the firm surface the soccer boots were statistically better than futsal trainers (p=0.009).
Conclusions: the lack of stability while barefoot could be explained by the fact that with shoes there is a greater surface area, which produces a sensory filter that leads to posture modifications to improve stability. The greater stability, that was found in the three types of footwear, could be guaranteed by the design to reduce friction (for running shoes) and by the presence of studs (for soccer boots and futsal trainers).
Keywords: barefoot; boots; futsal; runner; sport; stability.