Effects of shoes and foot orthotics on VO2 and selected frontal plane knee kinematics

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1985 Feb;17(1):158-63.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of shoes and foot orthotics on running economy and selected frontal plane knee kinematics during the support phase of running. Twenty-one male runners who had been fitted with orthotics served as subjects. Subjects participated in three submaximal runs on a treadmill under the following conditions: barefoot, shoes, and shoes plus orthotics. A run consisted of 1 min at 161 m . min-1, 2 min at 180 m . min-1, and 4 min at 201 m . min-1. VO2 was calculated for the last 3 min of each test. Frontal plane motion was filmed during the sixth min of each submaximal run, and linear and angular displacement of the knee were then calculated from film data. Results from the mechanical aspect of this study indicate that there were no significant differences among the means for linear displacement of the knee. Angular displacement of the knee during barefoot running was significantly (P less than 0.05) less than shoe and shoe-plus-orthotic conditions. There was no difference, however, between shoes and shoes plus orthotics. The economy results revealed that the aerobic cost of running increased as the amount of mass added to the foot increased. In absolute terms (1 . min-1), running in shoes plus orthotics was significantly (P less than 0.05) more costly than running barefoot. It appears that if orthotics do, in fact, improve running economy by improving running mechanics, the amount of improvement is negated by the additional cost of running associated with the mass of the orthotics.

MeSH terms

  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology*
  • Male
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Oxygen / physiology
  • Running*
  • Shoes*
  • Stress, Mechanical


  • Oxygen