Effects of footwear midsole thickness on running biomechanics

Mark H.C. Law, Eric M.F. Choi, Stephanie H.Y. Law, Subrina S.C. Chan, Sonia M.S. Wong, Eric C.K. Ching (Corresponding Author), Zoe Y.S. Chan, Janet H. Zhang, Gilbert W.K. Lam, Fannie O.Y. Lau, Roy T.H. Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Shoe manufacturers launch running shoes with increased (e.g., maximalists) or decreased (e.g., minimalists) midsole thickness and claim that they may prevent running injury. Previous studies tested footwear models with different midsole thicknesses on the market but the shoe construct was not strictly comparable. Therefore, in the present study, we examined the effect of midsole thickness, from 1-mm to 29-mm, in a standard test shoe prototype on the vertical loading rates, footstrike angle and temporal spatial parameters in distance runners. Fifteen male habitual rearfoot strikers were recruited from local running clubs. They were asked to run on an instrumented treadmill in shoes with different midsole thicknesses. We found significant interactions between midsole thickness with vertical loading rates (p < 0.001), footstrike angle (p = 0.013), contact time (p < 0.001), cadence (p = 0.003), and stride length (p = 0.004). Specifically, shoes with thinner midsole (1- and 5-mm) significantly increased the vertical loading rates and shortened the contact time, when compared with thicker midsole shoes (25- and 29-mm). However, we did not observe any substantial differences in the footstrike angle, cadence and stride length between other shod conditions. The present study provides biomechanical data regarding the relationship between full spectrum midsole thicknesses and running biomechanics in a group of rearfoot strikers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • footstrike pattern
  • maximalist
  • Minimalist
  • temporal spatial parameters
  • vertical loading rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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