January 2013

Novice runners use rearfoot strike pattern when wearing typical shoes

In the moment: Footwear

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Unlike experienced runners, almost all novice runners tend to use a rearfoot strike pattern when wearing a conventional running shoe, according to a Danish study e-published in January by Gait & Posture.

Researchers from Aarhus University in Aalborg, Denmark, evaluated footstrike patterns in 903 novice runners, all of whom wore the same conventional style of running shoe, as they ran on an indoor track. Video analysis revealed that 96.9% of the 456 male participants and 99.3% of the 447 female participants used a rearfoot strike pattern.

By contrast, an oft-cited 2007 study from Japan found that only 74.9% of elite runners competing in a half marathon were using a rearfoot-strike pattern at the 15-km point of the race. More recently, a 2011 study found that 88.9% of the sub-elite and recreational runners competing in a combined half-mara­thon/marathon were rearfoot striking at the 10-km point.


Bertelsen ML, Jensen JF, Nielsen MH, et al. Footstrike patterns among novice runners wearing a conventional, neutral running shoe. Gait Posture 2013 Jan 2 [Epub ahead of print]

Hasegawa H, Yamauchi T, Kraemer WJ. Foot strike patterns of runners at the 15-km point during an elite-level half marathon. J Strength Cond Res 2007; 21(3):888-893.

Larson P, Higgins E, Kaminski J, et al. Foot strike patterns of recreational and sub-elite runners in a long-distance road race. J Sports Sci 2011;29(15): 1665-1675.

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