Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health Studies

Committee Chair

Max Paquette

Committee Member

Douglas Powell

Committee Member

Daniel Greenwood


Footwear longitudinal bending stiffness manipulated with carbon fiber inserts has shown conflicting findings on running economy in young runners. Given the lower ankle torque and power observed in older compared to young runners, more footwear bending stiffness could benefit running economy of older runners as it is expected to attenuate age-related changes in biomechanical function related to economy. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of running footwear longitudinal bending stiffness manipulated using carbon fiber inserts on running economy and biomechanics of older runners. Nine runners over 60 years (four women) completed five-minute running bouts at their preferred running pace in three footwear conditions: low bending stiffness (4.4 1.8 Nm-1, LS), moderate bending stiffness (5.7 1.7 Nm-1, MS), and high bending stiffness (6.4 1.6 Nm-1, HS). Testing order was randomized and a mirror testing design was used (e.g., LS, MS, HS, HS, MS, LS). Expired gases, lower limb kinematics, and ground reaction forces were collected simultaneously. Lower limb joint kinetics, running economy (VO2), leg stiffness, and spatio-temporal variables were computed. Running economy was not different among the three different stiffness conditions without adjusting for mass and when adjusting for mass. More shoe stiffness reduced step length, but ankle joint kinetics, propulsive force, and leg stiffness were not different among the three different stiffness conditions. The findings from this study demonstrate that increasing footwear longitudinal bending stiffness using flat carbon fiber inserts does not improve running economy and generally does not alter lower limb joint mechanics of older runners. However, given the current evidence on the influence of footwear bending stiffness and other footwear characteristics on MTP joint mechanics and running economy, future research on this population should consider MTP joint mechanics.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest