They may not make you run faster or jump higher. Yet the material in the running shoe you wear does seem to make a difference. This study tested different shoes to shed some light on the mechanics of running.
When you run, your foot hits the ground with high impact. This study helps prove that the muscles of the leg adjust to this impact through a process called muscle tuning. Muscle tuning lessens the effects of impact on the tissues of the leg.
The midsole of running shoes also helps lessen the effects of impact. These researchers tested two different midsoles on six different runners. They found major differences in the muscle tuning between different shoes. And muscle tuning was significantly different between individual runners. Some runners did better with a hard midsole, while others benefitted from a softer one.
A better understanding of how our legs work when we run may help researchers find ways to treat or prevent conditions caused by the wear and tear of impact on the body. And who knows, maybe it will spur shoe companies to develop a “super shoe” that really makes us run faster.