Influence of Different Sole Thickness on Biomechanical Parameters of Human lower Extremity

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Supplemental




BACKGROUND: Different athletic shoe outsole thickness can influence human movement from the aspects of both performance enhancement and injury prevention.

PURPOSE: To investigate the influence of different outsole thickness on lower extremity muscle activity, kinematics, and kinetics during walking and running.

METHOD: Twelve male college students (age: 20.9±0.7, height: 172.0±2.1cm, body mass: 63.0±3.4 kg) were tested. Four sole thickness (original commercial shoe, 1, 2, and 3 cm increased outsole thickness) were tested. Elastic modulus was tested using a universal testing machine (Instron-5544, US). The running tests were performed on a treadmill with a fixed speed (3.33 m/s) and continued for 8min. Walking tests were performed on a force platform (AMTI, US, 400×600mm). A motion capture system (VICON, Oxford, UK) was used to obtain kinematic data. Wireless surface electromyography testing system (Noraxon, US) was used to obtain the surface electromyography (sEMG) data. One- way analysis of variance with repeat measures (ANOVA) was used to compare differences in muscle activity, kinematic, and kinetic outcome variables. Statistical significance was set at α = 0.05.

RESULTS: The 1 cm sole thickness has the highest elastic modulus (0.80MPa) and the 3cm is the lowest (0.25MPa). The co-contraction index value of 1cm group was significantly less than the others in both initial (0.55±0.14, P<0.05) and final (0.53±0.13, P<0.05) stage of running. At the toe off, the knee angle of 2 cm (131.0±9.5 deg, P<0.05) and 3 cm (132.7±4.6 deg, P<0.05) group increased significantly comparing to 0cm (125.0±5.4 deg) group in walking test.

CONCLUSION: The outsole thickness of 1cm reduced muscle co-contraction during running. Knee joint increased with the increasing of sole thickness at the time of toe off when walking.


© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine