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Running footwear matters: decoding the influence of running shoe characteristics on physiology, biomechanics and running performance (PhD Academy Award)
  1. Víctor Rodrigo Carranza1,2
  1. 1 Sports Performance Research Group (GIRD), University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
  2. 2 Integrative Locomotion Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Víctor Rodrigo Carranza, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real 13001, Spain; victor.rodrigo{at}

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What did I do?

The objectives of my PhD were to: (1) evaluate and analyse the performance improvement caused by advanced footwear technology (AFT) in road racing performance and (2) analyse the effect and describe the mechanisms that the main AFT characteristics produce on running performance.

Why did I do it?

Recently, a new running shoe concept has been launched, which has revolutionised footwear design, named AFT. This type of running footwear is defined by the combination of: (1) reduced shoe mass, (2) greater rocker geometry, (3) a curved carbon fibre plate or other element embedded in the midsole in order to increase longitudinal bending stiffness (LBS), (4) more compliant and resilient midsole foams (ie, polyether block amide (PEBA)) to provide cushioning and responsiveness and (5) increased midsole thickness (figure 1A). Although this shoe demonstrated improvements in running economy, it is not known what impact it has had on road running performance, the events for which it was designed. In addition, the impact of each of its characteristics has not been evaluated in order to understand by which mechanisms AFT improves running performance. My PhD sought to answer these questions.

Figure 1

(A) Summary of AFT characteristics. (B) Summary of mechanisms by which AFT improve running performance. AFT, advanced footwear technology; PEBA, polyether block amide.

How did I do it?

I performed two types of experimental designs to address the objectives. With respect to the first objective, I performed four longitudinal, …

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  • Contributors All doctoral thesis work was performed by the main author, VRC. It was supervised by José María González Ravé, Fernando González Mohíno and Wouter Hoogkamer.

  • Funding The PhD was funded by a grant of the University of Castilla La-Mancha co-financed by the European Union.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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