Running – Sock-absorbers - Shock absorbing Socks!

 

Several running sock manufactures claim that their products provide additional cushioning to runners. In theory anything that makes contact between us and ground when we are running has the potential to cushion and soften the impact from ground reaction forces. 

 

This raises the question has this cushioning affect been proven or is it a marketing aid to boost sales.

 

A web based literature search on 4 March 2011 only identified x2 papers which have been published to investigate this area which suggests this subject area has few investigations to date.

 

A study by Blackmore et al (2010) suggested that a small degree of cushioning may be provided at walking speeds (with wool and acrylic socks) but that this was not measurable at running speeds. Unfortunately, this study only comprised x5 subjects which limits this studies findings.

 

Similar findings were reported by Howarth and Rome (1996) i.e. that cushioning effects were observed with wool and acrylic socks. Unfortunately, the measurement technique used in this study was not ideal.

 

The use of a force platform would be preferable for the measurement of ground reaction forces (GRF).

 

Based on the available literature to date the evidence does not support the claims of sock manufacturers that their socks can provide additional shock absorption / cushioning to runners.

 

References

 

Blackmore T., Ball N., Scurr J. (2010)

The effect of socks on vertical and anteroposterior ground reaction forces in walking and running.

 

The Foot      e.pub journal in press

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21074986

 

Howarth S., Rome K. (1996)

A short-term study of shock-attenuation in different sock Types.

The Foot (1996) 6, 5-9.

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