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Shoe Preference Based on Subjective Comfort for Walking and Running

Pui Wah Kong Department of Kinesiology, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX.

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Miranda Bagdon Department of Kinesiology, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX.

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Background: Subjective comfort of footwear is important for shoe and orthosis design. This study compared shoe preferences between walking and running, using subjective comfort as an outcome tool.

Methods: Forty-one participants walked and ran 20 times each along a runway in three types of footwear (cushioning, lightweight, and stability) and chose the model that they preferred most for walking and running separately based on subjective comfort.

Results: More participants preferred the cushioning model (walking, 34%; running, 41%) or the lightweight model (walking, 44%; running, 41%) over the stability model (walking, 22%; running, 17%). χ2 tests revealed no differences between walking and running, runners and nonrunners, and lighter and heavier individuals. Women were more likely (odds ratio = 4.09) to prefer the lightweight model, whereas men preferred the cushioning (odds ratio = 2.05) and stability (odds ratio = 3.19) models. Most participants (71%) chose the same model for both activities.

Conclusions: Shoe preference varies among individuals and is influenced by sex. Most people feel comfortable walking and running in the same shoe model. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(6): 456–462, 2010)

Corresponding author: Pui Wah Kong, PhD, Physical Education and Sports Science Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 637 616. (E-mail: venikong@yahoo.com)