Running Footstrike Patterns and Footwear in Habitually Shod Preschool Children

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise





First page number:


Last page number:



Introduction Running skill develops during the preschool age. There is little research evidence as to how footstrike patterns are affected by footwear during this important developmental period. Purpose The aim of this study was to compare footstrike patterns among different age groups of preschool children running in different footwear conditions. Methods Three-dimensional kinetics and kinematics were collected while 48 typically developing children age 3 to 6 yr ran overground at self-selected speed in a barefoot condition and in minimalist and standard running shoes. Children were divided into four age groups (n = 12 per group). The key dependent variables for this study included strike index and sagittal plane ankle angle at footstrike. A two-way mixed ANOVA (3 × 4) was performed to determine possible footwear and age differences in footstrike patterns. Results An interaction between footwear condition and age group was found in the ankle angle at footstrike (P = 0.030, ?2 = 0.145). There was a main effect within the footwear condition across all age groups for strike index (P = 0.001, ?2 = 0.337). The ankle was more plantar flexed in the barefoot and minimalist conditions compared with standard running shoes only in 6-yr-old children (P < 0.05, d > 0.8). In addition, 6-yr-old children had a more plantar flexed ankle than did 3-yr-old children when they ran barefoot (P = 0.008, d = 1.24). Conclusions Footstrike pattern is affected by footwear in preschool children. As children get older, their footstrike pattern becomes more non-rearfoot with a more plantar flexed ankle in barefoot and minimalist shoes. On the contrary, the rearfoot-midfoot strike pattern did not change over preschool age when they wore standard running shoes.


Aging; Barefoot; Fundamental skills; Shoes


Kinesiology | Life Sciences | Psychology of Movement



UNLV article access

Search your library