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Long-term adaptations of habitual barefoot locomotion on foot morphology and biomechanics during childhood and adolescence (PhD Academy Award)
  1. Karsten Hollander1,2
  1. 1 Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Institute of Human Movement Science, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Sports and Rehabilitation Medicine, BG Trauma Hospital of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karsten Hollander, Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, University of Hamburg, Institute of Human Movement Science, Hamburg 20148, Germany; karsten.hollander{at}

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What did I do?

I investigated habitual barefoot locomotion on foot morphology and running biomechanics in children and adolescents. After conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarise the current evidence, we determined the reliability of our foot metrical assessments in a paediatric cohort. This was followed by a cross-sectional study investigating habitually barefoot and habitually shod children and adolescents in South Africa and Germany.

Why did I do it?

Barefoot locomotion has gained a large popular and scientific interest. Proposed benefits include injury prevention, enhanced proprioception, foot muscle strength and running economy, as well as superior running biomechanics.1 The few reports of long-term barefoot locomotion investigated mainly adult populations.

How did I do it?

The first study used a systematic review approach with meta-analysis to synthesise studies comparing habitual barefoot and habitual shod populations and their reported consequences on foot morphology and biomechanics, as well as motor performance and …

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  • Contributors KH participated in the conception and design of the study. KH was responsible for the training of the research team and data collection in Germany. KH conducted his PhD in this project and wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was supported by Ministry for Science and Research in Hamburg (grant number: LFF- FV13).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Ethics approval Stellenbosch university ethics committee and the Hamburg medical association.

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