The foot strike pattern performed during running is an important variable for runners, performance practitioners, and industry specialists. Versatile, wearable sensors may provide foot strike information while encouraging the collection of diverse information during ecological running. The purpose of the current study was to predict foot strike angle and classify foot strike pattern from LoadsolTM wearable pressure insoles using three machine learning techniques (multiple linear regression-MR, conditional inference tree-TREE, and random forest-FRST). Model performance was assessed using three-dimensional kinematics as a ground-truth measure. The prediction-model accuracy was similar for the regression, inference tree, and random forest models (RMSE: MR = 5.16°, TREE = 4.85°, FRST = 3.65°; MAPE: MR = 0.32°, TREE = 0.45°, FRST = 0.33°), though the regression and random forest models boasted lower maximum precision (13.75° and 14.3°, respectively) than the inference tree (19.02°). The classification performance was above 90% for all models (MR = 90.4%, TREE = 93.9%, and FRST = 94.1%). There was an increased tendency to misclassify mid foot strike patterns in all models, which may be improved with the inclusion of more mid foot steps during model training. Ultimately, wearable pressure insoles in combination with simple machine learning techniques can be used to predict and classify a runner's foot strike with sufficient accuracy.
Keywords: decision tree; human running; random forest; regression; wearable devices.