There are many different types of footwear available for runners in today's market. Many of these shoes claim to improve a runner's efficiency by altering their stride mechanics. Minimalist footwear claims to aid runners in running more on their forefeet whereas more traditional footwear provides more cushioning specifically for a heel-first landing. The purpose of this research was to determine if runners who were accustomed to running in traditional footwear would acutely alter their running biomechanics when they ran barefoot or in various types of minimalist footwear. Twelve subjects, who were accustomed to running in traditional 12 mm heel/toe differential footwear, ran in five footwear conditions on a treadmill at a controlled pace for 2 minutes after warming up in each condition for 5 minutes. While running in 12 mm heel/toe differential footwear compared to barefoot, subjects ran with a significantly longer ground time, a slower stride rate and greater vertical oscillation. There were not any significant differences in kinematic and kinetic variables when running in the shod conditions despite the varying heel/toe differentials. Foot strike angle did not change under any of the conditions either. Running barefoot proved to be different than running in footwear in that stride rate increased, ground time decreased and vertical oscillation decreased. There were not any significant acute differences between any of the footwear conditions despite having different heel/toe differentials in subjects accustomed to wearing traditional heel-drop footwear. Wearing minimalist or cushioned minimal footwear appears to not be an effective means of changing running mechanics acutely but may need repeated bouts to alter running mechanics.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





running, barefoot, minimalist footwear