The effect of minimalist, maximalist and energy return footwear of equal mass on running economy and substrate utilization

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Sinclair, Jonathan Kenneth ; Shore, Hannah ; Dillon, Stephanie (2016)

The aim of the current study was to explore the effects of minimalist, maximalist and energy return footwear of equal mass on economy and substrate utilisation during steady state running. Ten male runners completed 6 min steady state runs in minimalist, maximalist and energy return footwear. The mass of the footwear was controlled by adding lead tape to the lighter shoes. Running economy, shoe comfort, rating of perceived exertion and % contribution of carbohydrate to total calorie expenditure were assessed. Participants also subjectively indicated which shoe condition they preferred for running. Differences in shoe comfort and physiological parameters were examined using paired samples t-tests, whilst shoe preferences were tested using a chi-square test. The results showed firstly that running economy was significantly improved in the energy return (35.9 ml∙kg/min) compared to minimalist footwear (37.8 ml∙kg/min). In addition % carbohydrate was significantly greater in the minimalist (76.4%) in comparison to energy return footwear (72.9%). As running economy was improved and carbohydrate utilisation reduced in the energy return in comparison to minimalist footwear, the current investigation shows that these footwear are more economical when shoe mass is controlled.
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