Many of today's running shoes feature a heavy cushioned
heel. New research presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy
of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) found that these shoes may alter an adolescent
runner's biomechanics (the forces exerted by muscles and gravity on the
skeletal structure) and diminish performance.
The researchers found that shoe type "dramatically"
altered running biomechanics in the adolescent runners. When wearing cushioned
heel trainers, the athletes landed on their heel 69.8% of the time at all
speeds. With the track flats, the heel was the first point of contact less than
35% of the time; and when barefoot, less than 30% of the time.
running a 5-minute mile - the athletes landed on their heel first."