A Comparison of Stride Length and Lower Extremity Kinematics During Barefoot and Shod Running in Well Trained Distance Runners

J Sports Sci Med. 2016 Aug 5;15(3):417-423. eCollection 2016 Sep.


Stride length, hip, knee and ankle angles were compared during barefoot and shod running on a treadmill at two speeds. Nine well-trained (1500m time: 3min:59.80s ± 14.7 s) male (22 ±3 years; 73 ±9 kg; 1.79 ±0.4 m) middle distance (800 m - 5,000 m) runners performed 2 minutes of running at 3.05 m·s-1 and 4.72 m·s-1 on an treadmill. This approach allowed continuous measurement of lower extremity kinematic data and calculation of stride length. Statistical analysis using a 2X2 factorial ANOVA revealed speed to have a main effect on stride length and hip angle and footwear to have a main effect on hip angle. There was a significant speed*footwear interaction for knee and ankle angles. Compared to shod running at the lower speed (3.05 m·s-1), well trained runners have greater hip, knee and ankle angles when running barefoot. Runners undertake a high volume (~75%) of training at lower intensities and therefore knowledge of how barefoot running alters running kinematics at low and high speeds may be useful to the runner.

Keywords: Running mechanics; ankle; endurance; hip; knee.