Commercially available running shoes differ in terms of their relative masses. It is unclear how well consumers may be able to judge mass differences from wearing alone, though previous studies suggest that perceptual outcomes may be influenced by experimental design factors such as the length of time worn. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the number of shoes used in a testing session impacts wearers' mass perceptual accuracy. Forty-eight young adult males ran for 5 min in 4 pairs of shoes (their own running shoes plus 3 unfamiliar pairs) before being asked whether an unfamiliar running shoe was heavier or lighter than their own, and to indicate perceptions of shoe heaviness (mass), comfort, stability, and temperature using visual analogue scales (VAS). A subset (n=18) was also asked to provide global rank orderings after wearing all 4 pairs of shoes. Participants were 67% accurate in the heavier/lighter task and 64% accurate in the global rank order task. Global rank order scores and VAS heaviness marks were significantly and positively correlated. Mass accuracy scores (n=48) were then compared to a previous study (n=25) performed by the same investigators using the same methods but with 6 pairs of shoes instead of 4. No difference in accuracy scores for either the heavier/lighter comparisons or global rank order scores between the study populations was found, suggesting that the number of test shoes may not influence mass perception accuracy.

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