Biomechanics and energetics of running footwear

Nike Vaporfly 4%:

The original study with the results that inspired the name of the shoe:
Hoogkamer W, Kipp S, Frank JH, Farina EM, Luo G, Kram R. A comparison of the energetic cost of running in marathon racing shoes. Sports Med, 48: 1009-1019, 2018.

A follow-up study that explored differences in running biomechachics between the Vaporfly prototype shoes and the baseline racing shoes, indicating that the spring function of the plate in bending is minimal as compared to the mechanical energy return of the midsole foam loaded in compression:

Hoogkamer W, Kipp S, Kram R. The biomechanics of competitive male runners in three marathon racing shoes: a randomized crossover study. Sports Med, 49: 133-143, 2019.

More evidence that the contribution of the longitudinal bending stiffness of the plate to the metabolic energy savings is minimal:

Healey LA, Hoogkamer W. Longitudinal bending stiffness does not affect running economy in Nike Vaporfly shoes. J Sport Health Sci, 11, 285-292, 2022.

Metabolic energy savings in Vaporfly shoes during uphill and downhill running for ~5% grades are less than during level running, but still substantial:
Whiting CW, Hoogkamer W, Kram R. Metabolic cost of level, uphill, and downhill running in highly-cushioned shoes with carbon fiber plates. J Sports Health Sci, 11, 303-308, 2022.

Supershoe components:

Stack Height:

A viewpoint summarizing literature that suggests that a taller stackheight by itself is unlikely to improve running economy, and that even without rules, their will be an upper limit on stack height:

Hoogkamer W. More isn’t always better. Footwear Sci, 12: 75-77, 2020.

Bending Stiffness:
A narrative review summarizing all the research on the role of increased longitudinal bending stiffness in running shoes, indicating that plate geometry and placement are important, and that findings from studies using flat carbon insoles most likely not apply to supershoes.

Ortega JA, Healey LA, Swinnen W, Hoogkamer W. Energetics and biomechanics of running footwear with increased longitudinal bending stiffness: a narrative review. Sports Med, 51, 873-894, 2021.

Shoe Mass:

The goal of this study was to find out how lab-measured changes in running economy can be expected to translate to distance running performance, but along the way we confirmed the rule of thumb that every additional 100g of shoe mass worsens running economy by 1%:

Hoogkamer W, Kipp S, Spiering BA, Kram R. Altered running economy directly translates to altered distance-running performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 48: 2175-2180, 2016.


Healey LA, Bertschy M, Kipp S, Hoogkamer W. Can we quantify the benefits of “super spikes” in track running? Sports Med, 52, 1211-1218, 2022.