The transition of running footwear to maximalist constructions has been largely spearheaded by runners’ desires for reduced risk of injury. Loading rates have been used as a measure of a shoe’s ability to attenuate vertical ground reaction forces. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of maximalist running shoes of two differing constructions upon loading rate compared to a traditional shoe condition. A secondary purpose of this study was to investigate any interaction between footwear condition and speed on loading rate. Eight runners (4 women, 4 men; mean age = 29 yr ± 6.5 ; mean body mass 63.6 kg ± 14.3; mean height 166.8 cm ± 9.1) ran at a fast (3.7 m/s) and slow (2.85 m/s) speed in two maximalist shoe conditions (Saucony Shift 2 and Saucony Speed 2) and one traditional shoe (Brooks Launch 5). All runners ran with a rearfoot strike pattern. Three trials were collected for right and left sides at each of the conditions for a total of 36 trials per participant. The Saucony Shift 2 resulted in a higher loading rate (right average = 68.71 BW/s; left average = 74.50 BW/s) compared to the Brooks Launch 5 and the Saucony Speed 2. The faster speed resulted in a higher loading rate compared to the slower speed in all footwear conditions. There was no interaction between footwear condition and running speed. This study demonstrates that maximalist running shoes may result in comparable or significantly higher loading rates than popular traditional running shoes but do not result in lower loading rates. As the maximalist shoe category is often framed as maximally cushioned, an increase in loading rate is inconsistent with this categorization.
Ray, Elizabeth, "Loading Rate of Two Maximalist Shoes Compared to a Traditional Running Shoe" (2022). Master's Theses. 261.