Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsm.2009.069849
  • Original article

The effect of three different levels of footwear stability on pain outcomes in women runners: a randomised control trial

  1. Jack E Taunton1
  1. 1Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  2. 2Nike Sports Research Laboratory, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael B Ryan, Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre, 3055 Wesbrook Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z3, Canada; mryan76{at}
  • Accepted 10 May 2010
  • Published Online First 27 June 2010


Background The present study examines the injury status in women runners who are randomised to receive a neutral, stability or motion control running shoe.

Methods 81 female runners were categorised into three different foot posture types (39 neutral, 30 pronated, 12 highly pronated) and randomly assigned a neutral, stability or motion control running shoe. Runners underwent baseline testing to record training history, as well as leg alignment, before commencing a 13-week half marathon training programme. Outcome measures included number of missed training days due to pain and three visual analogue scale (VAS) items for pain during rest, activities of daily living and with running.

Results 194 missed training days were reported by 32% of the running population with the stability shoe reporting the fewest missed days (51) and the motion control shoe (79) the most. There was a significant main effect (p<0.001) for footwear condition in both the neutral and pronated foot types: the motion control shoe reporting greater levels of pain in all three VAS items. In neutral feet, the neutral shoe reported greater values of pain while running than the stability shoe; in pronated feet, the stability shoe reported greater values of pain while running than the neutral shoe. No significant effects were reported for the highly pronated foot, although this was limited by an inadequate sample size.

Conclusion The findings of this study suggest that our current approach of prescribing in-shoe pronation control systems on the basis of foot type is overly simplistic and potentially injurious.


  • Funding Nike Global, One Bowerman Drive, Beaverton, Oregon, USA.

  • Competing interests A research partnership grant from Nike Global was awarded to MBR, JET and KM to conduct this investigation. GAV is employed at Nike Global

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Clinical Research Ethics Board at the University of British Columbia.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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