Background

We aimed to determine the center of pressure (COP) trajectories and regional pressure differences in natural rearfoot strikers while running barefoot, running with a minimalist shoe, and running with a traditional shoe.

Methods

Twenty-two male natural rearfoot strikers ran at an imposed speed along an instrumented runway in three conditions: barefoot, with a traditional shoe, and with a minimalist shoe. Metrics associated to the COP and regional plantar force distribution, captured with a pressure platform, were compared using one-way repeated-measures analysis of variance.

Results

The forefoot contact phase was found to be significantly shorter in the barefoot running trials compared with the shod conditions (P = .003). The initial contact of the COP was located more anteriorly in the barefoot running trials. The mediolateral position of the COP at initial contact was found to be significantly different in the three conditions, whereas the final mediolateral position of the COP during the forefoot contact phase was found to be more lateral in the barefoot condition compared with both shod conditions (P = .0001). The metrics associated with the regional plantar force distribution supported the clinical reasoning with respect to the COP findings.

Conclusions

The minimalist shoe seems to provide a compromise between barefoot running and running with a traditional shoe.

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