Investigating footwear biomechanics concepts in ‘health and well-being’ footwear

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Price, C
  • Subject: health_and_wellbeing

Health and well-being’ footwear positions itself in the footwear market between high street footwear and specialist therapeutic footwear. Manufacturers in this footwear category promote benefits when compared with standard footwear. However, the full exploration and validation of such proposed benefits requires scientific exploration through the application of footwear biomechanics concepts and techniques. The studies herein were undertaken to assess these biomechanical concepts in ‘health and well-being’ footwear, particularly in FitFlopTM footwear. The studies are experimental studies with repeated measures designs. A total of 128 individual participants volunteered, 28 of which were included in two publications. Variables were quantified using an in-shoe plantar pressure measurement system (with a bespoke insole), electromyography, 3D motion capture, force plates, accelerometers, a modified questionnaire and a custom-made mechanical drop-test device. The research identified that ‘health and well-being’ footwear can be manipulated to increase shock absorption, namely reducing the heel-strike transient magnitude (-19%) compared with a flip-flop. ‘Health and well-being’ footwear does induce instability at specific phases of the gait cycle, which is specific to the outsole shape of the footwear. For example the MBT shoe increased muscle activity relating to controlling sagittal plane motion. The biomechanics of gait are also altered compared to standard footwear styles, such as reducing the frontal plane motion of the foot in stance (-19%) and the magnitude (-86%) and duration (-98%) of gripping with the Hallux in swing compared with a flip-flop. The tested ‘health and well-being’ footwear was subjectively rated equally as comfortable as a control shoe with increased regional pressures in the midfoot (≈25%) and decreased peak pressures in the heel (-22%). Therefore ‘health and well-being’ footwear may influence the biomechanics of wearers however further exploration of meaningful differences and individual population differences is required. The studies emphasise the importance and relevance of testing walking, as well as running, footwear to the wider footwear biomechanics field and demonstrate how this may be integrated into research and development processes within a footwear company.
  • References (30)
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    Reports, Presentations, Marketing and Internal Documents ............................246 Appendix A: Co-author statement of work......................................................... 250 Appendix B: Journal Information ....................................................................... 255 5.3.1 Abstract: The impact of a health Flip Flop on asymptomatic gait (I-FAB Congress, University of Washington, Seattle, United States, September 2010).............257 5.3.2 Abstract: Single-leg balance in “instability” footwear (I-FAB Congress, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, April 2012). ..................................................258 5.3.3 Poster: Single-leg balance in “instability” footwear (I-FAB Congress, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, April 2012). ..................................................259 5.3.4 Abstract: Testing a mechanical protocol to replicate impact in walking footwear (I-FAB Congress, Busan, Korea, April 2014).................................................................260 Chapter 1 Thesis Overview

    Figure 1.1 Timeline and timeframes for the studies and papers within the thesis as of September 2014. .........................................................................................................................8 Figure 1.2 Objectives of the thesis .............................................................................................9 Figure 1.3 Structure of the thesis..............................................................................................11 Chapter 2 Footwear Biomechanics Concepts

    Figure 2.1 Comparison of raw vertical ground reaction force in walking barefoot, walking in a trainer and jogging in a trainer of a 53 kg participant at self-selected velocities. ....................14 Figure 2.2 SATRA STM 479 Dynamic shock absorption test machine ..................................19 Figure 2.3 Instability footwear examples .................................................................................25 Figure 2.4 HavaianaTM flip-flop ...............................................................................................37 Chapter 3 Publications

    Paper 1

    Figure 3.1 Calculation of the effective mass and drop-height from the results of the human data collection to define the methodology of the mechanical test protocol. ............................66 Figure 3.2 Vertical heel velocity towards the floor in the human testing for the four footwear conditions and barefoot. ...........................................................................................................68 Figure 3.3 Comparison of variables between the two mechanical test conditions (adapted and ASTM) and the human results for the four footwear conditions..............................................69 Paper 3

    Figure 3.4 Footwear conditions left to right, Control (CO), FitFlop (FF), Masai Barefoot Technology (MB), Reebok (RE) and Skechers (SK). ..............................................................93 Figure 3.5 Example CoP trajectory (mm) of one participant for one 30 second balance trial in each condition...........................................................................................................................97 Figure 3.6 Median RMS (± inter-quartile range error bars) EMG for 30 second single-leg balance. .....................................................................................................................................99 Paper 4

    Figure 3.7 Median RMS (± inter-quartile range error bars) EMG for phases of stance (x axis) presented as percentage difference from control. ...................................................................113 Paper 5

    Figure 3.8 . Footwear conditions tested: Havaiana flip-flop (a), FitFlop, Walkstar I (b). .....121 Chapter 1 Thesis Overview

    Table 1.1 Research equipment and participant overview...........................................................7 Chapter 2 Footwear Biomechanics Concepts

    Table 2.1 Centre of pressure variables from protocols to quantify instability. ........................26 Table 2.2 Electromyography variables from protocols to quantify instability.........................29 Table 2.3 Comfort questionnaires. ...........................................................................................48 Chapter 3 Publications

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