Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health, Physical Education and Recreation

First Advisor

Dr. Kay Thigpen

Second Advisor

Dr. Wayne Stuberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Daniel Blanke


The purpose of this study was to kinematically describe the movements of the lower extremities in running with running shoes and running barefoot. Another purpose of this study was to identify and compare the anatomical and mechanical adaptations that occur. Seven college age females, members of the University of Nebraska at Omaha cross-country team, and one local competitive long-distance female runner 27 yrs old, were subjects of this study. All subjects were free of any physical disability that could have caused an impaired performance.

All subjects completed one testing session consisting of three acceptable trials each with and without their running shoes. A trial was defined as acceptable when the speed of the subject was 3.8 ±0.19 m/sec and a complete running stride was in the field of view of the camera. Videography (60 fields /sec) was used to film the subjects from the sagittal view. The data capture, digitizing, data calculations, and display were performed by using the Peak Performance Technology PEAK2D Software running on a Zenith 80386 computer. A SONY 1341 Trinitron monitor and a Panasonic AG 7 300 video cassette recorder controlled by the Zenith computer, were used to digitize the videography data.

The results obtained from the analysis of the parameters used revealed significant differences between conditions for the vertical heel velocities before and at touchdown, and the strut length at toe off. No significant differences between conditions were found for the remaining parameters measured.

From the results of this study the following conclusions were made. Removal of running shoes indicated that the human spring apparatus of the lower extremity tends to shorten at touchdown and during the support phase to diminish shock (due to a lack of cushioning). Additionally, running shoes helped the runners to exhibit sufficient forward thrust and drive in order to project their bodies more efficiently during the nonsupport phase. These changes in running mechanics could be attributed to the protection of some elements of the musculoskeletal system due to the two different loading conditions.

From the findings of this study several recommendations were made concerning further research. Future studies should employ appropriate methods for a detailed determination of the internal forces. Neurophysiological or mathematical modeling could be used for such an analysis. A longitudinal study should be conducted for better evaluation of the effects of barefoot training on injuries and performance.


A Thesis Presented to the School of HPER and the Faculty of the Graduate College Univerity of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1991 Nicholas Stergiou.