University of Calgary

If The Shoe Fits?

January 28, 2008

Which shoe is really the best for men, women, kids or seniors? Free running shoes if you are selected for the study!

Buying shoes these days can be a complicated task. Shoe salesmen will often recommend shoes for seniors, kids or women and we assume there’s a reason for it. Researchers at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology, say, 'Not so fast!’
“The fact of the matter,” says Dr. Benno Nigg, “is that there has been very little research done to determine which shoe does, in fact, provide the best cushion impact for each age group and gender.”
To get these answers Nigg and researcher Martijn Klein Horsman are conducting one of the largest studies ever undertaken on running shoe cushioning and comfort. Nigg, (an international leader in bio-mechanics and founder of Kinesiology’s world famous Human Performance Lab,) and Klein Horsman will be testing 160 runners ranging from children to seniors to see which shoe is most comfortable. Both men and women are needed for the study.
“Cushioning comfort is an interesting concept,” says Nigg. “On one hand it seems difficult to describe – but some of my previous research has shown that you can actually measure cushioning comfort and shock absorption in a laboratory setting. If you feel a shoe is uncomfortable it may be your body’s way of telling you that you have to work harder or expend more energy walking or running – which can lead to injury.”
To test the right shoe for each group, the researchers will assess how shoes with various soles affect the wearers in areas such as muscle use, impact, vibration and breathing, which will give them an idea of how hard your body is working in a particular shoe.

“What we are interested in seeing,” says post doctoral researcher Klein Horsman, “is if shoes with different sole hardness will really make a difference to the wearer.”
The researchers are looking for subjects - both male and female – in two particular groups: Between the ages of 10 and 20 and over the age of 35.
If you are chosen for the study you will receive a free pair of running shoes (value $100.)
Subjects should live in Calgary, be able to run and be available to come into the Human Performance Lab for testing  (about 2 to 3 hours.)
If you are interested email Martijn Klein Horsman, or phone: 210-8933.

Media Contact – To arrange interviews about the study, contact:

Don McSwiney
Director of Communication, Faculty of Kinesiology
Phone: 220-7652 or Cell: (403) 852-7652