Biomechanics: Wearing footwear with toe springs requires less muscle work

News Release:

Wearing footwear with an upward curvature at the front of the shoe – known as the toe spring – requires less work from the muscles of the feet to walk than shoes with a flatter sole, according to an experimental study published in Scientific Reports.

Toe springs keep the toes continually elevated above the ground in a flexed upwards position to help the front part of the foot roll forward when walking or running and are present in most modern athletic shoes, but their effect on natural foot function and vulnerability of the feet to injury has not been widely studied.

Freddy Sichting and colleagues from Harvard University, the Chemnitz University of Technology and Buffalo University investigated the effects of toe springs on foot biomechanics using a controlled experiment in which 13 participants walked barefoot on a treadmill at a comfortable walking pace. The participants were then asked to repeat the process wearing four different pairs of specially designed sandals with varying upward curvature of the toe region in order to simulate the curvature of modern athletic footwear. 3D motion data were captured using markers placed on each subject’s knee, ankle and foot.

The authors found that toe springs decrease the work of the muscles around the joints that connect the toes to the foot bones. The higher the upwards curve of the toes in respect to the rest of the foot, the less work the foot muscles had to perform to support the joints when walking.

The findings explain why toe springs are so comfortable and popular but suggest that shoes with toe springs may contribute to weakening of the foot muscles with long-term use. This may increase susceptibility to common pathological conditions such as plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes, according to the authors.

Bestseller No. 1
Nike Men's Race Running Shoe, Black Total Orange Particle Gray White, Womens 10
  • Style#: CK6357-001
  • Padded collar and tongue for increased comfort
  • TPU-outlined Swoosh design trademark
  • Soft lining with cushioned insole
  • Dual-density midsole gives you a soft, cushioned ride with Lunar foam underfoot
Bestseller No. 4
Shoes Changing Race In Style
  • Free offline gameplay.
  • English (Publication Language)
Bestseller No. 5
Nike Men's Race Running Shoe, Black White, 8 us
  • Style#: BQ9646-002
  • Nike React foam at the midsole is lightweight, springy and durable
  • An Air Zoom unit at the forefoot is twice as large as previous versions, delivering more bounce with every step.
  • It's top-loaded to be closer to your foot for better responsiveness.
  • A midfoot band adapts to the size of your foot, keeping you comfortable and secure with every step.
Bestseller No. 6
Race Against Time
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Luca Padovan, Will Blagrove, Colin Critchley (Actors)
  • Jin Yong Kim (Director) - Little Airplane Productions (Writer) - Gil Hoon Jung (Producer)
  • English (Playback Languages)
  • English (Subtitle)
Bestseller No. 7
Nike Women's Race Running Shoe, Black/Mtlc Dark Grey-white-fire Pink, 9
  • Style#: CK6360-004
  • A dual-density midsole gives you a soft, cushioned ride with Lunar foam underfoot. The design is constructed to run along the sidewall, providing comfort with every step.
  • Breathable mesh in the upper helps keep you secure and comfortable, while increasing airflow. Its stretchy material provides a better fit for more room at the toes.
  • The durable rubber outsole provides traction where you need it to help you stay focused on the miles ahead.
  • TPU-outlined Swoosh design trademark
SaleBestseller No. 8
I Hate Running and You Can Too: How to Get Started, Keep Going, and Make Sense of an Irrational Passion
  • Leonard, Brendan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 03/16/2021 (Publication Date) - Artisan (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 9
Born to Run
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • McDougall, Christopher (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 306 Pages - 05/04/2009 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 10
Runner's World
  • English (Publication Language)

I get commissions for purchases made through links on this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.