Shock absorption characteristics of running shoes

Am J Sports Med. 1985 Jul-Aug;13(4):248-53. doi: 10.1177/036354658501300406.


The change in shock absorption properties of running shoes was evaluated as a function of miles run. Different models of running shoes encompassing a wide range in retail price were obtained and mechanically tested to simulate the repeated heel strikes of running. The energy absorbed by the shoes was determined from the area under the load deformation curve at the equivalent of 0, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 200, 250, 300, and 500 miles of running. Shoes were also tested at similar intervals after having been worn by volunteers during normal training. An approximate 33% difference in the initial shock absorption was observed in the different shoe models. In general, the shoes retained approximately 75% of their initial shock absorption capability after 50 miles of simulated running, and approximately 67% after 100 to 150 miles. Between 250 and 500 miles the shoes retained less than 60% of their initial shock absorption capacity. No differences in shock absorption characteristics were apparent based upon either shoe price or the manufacturer model. The results of shoes tested by the volunteer runners also showed a marked reduction in shock absorption with mileage. The loss, however, was not as great as in the machine-simulated running, with approximately 70% of initial shock absorption retained at 500 miles.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans
  • Running*
  • Shoes / standards*
  • Stress, Mechanical