Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Human Performance


Exercise Science (MS)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Scott Drum


Recently, highly cushioned shoes (HCS) entered the running market, and manufacturers suggested extra cushioning potentially reduced injury rates through superior shock absorption, implying less impact upon foot strike versus other shoes. Hence, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 4-week HCS intervention on running-related impact forces in adult recreational runners. We hypothesized HCS would result in altered force attenuation compared to standard cushioned shoes (SCS) at baseline. After 4-weeks, we speculated differences would not be attenuated. Twenty-nine healthy runners (18-60 yrs of age) who had never worn HCS were randomized to either an intervention (INV) or control (CON) group, and wore HCS or SCS, respectively, a majority of each training week. During pre and post-tests in a lab, all participants wore SCS first, followed by HCS, while running overground at a self-selected pace and striking embedded force plates in up to 30 total trials/session, 10 trials/shoe, to obtain impact peak (PK1) and active peak (PK2) force, instantaneous loading rate (ILR), average loading rate (ALR), and contact time (CT). Runners also recorded daily training data for 4-weeks. A repeated measures, mixed ANOVA was utilized to detect differences between shoes and groups. Our hypotheses were not supported. No differences were found at baseline or after the 4-week intervention between shoes and groups. In conclusion, HCS do not cause alterations in ground reaction forces over a short-term habituation period in recreational runners.

Access Type

Open Access