Nov 20, 2017
Study Published on 4% Shoe

Researchers at the University of Colorado have published a study revealing that a new racing shoe, which Shalane Flanagan wore while winning the New York City Marathon, reduces the amount of energy used in running by four percent.

According to Medical Xpress, the shoe, known as the Nike Vaporfly 4%, use carbon fiber plates, foam cushions, and a midsole that is soft but thick. According to Wouter Hoogkamer, a postdoctoral researcher at CU’s Locomotion Lab and the study’s lead author, the shoes will significantly reduce the time it takes to run marathons.

“Our extrapolations suggest that with these shoes the technology is in place to break the two-hour marathon barrier,” Hoogkamer said. “Now, it is up to the athletes to make it happen.”

CU conducted the study before the shoe was released in July. Eighteen runners participated, running two 5-minute treadmill trials on separate days in three different types of shoes–the Adidas Adios Boost 2, the Nike Zoom Streak, and the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%. All of the runners were in their 20’s, wore size 10 shoes, and had run a 10 kilometer race in less than 31 minutes.

“We were looking for fast, male Cinderellas,” Rodger Kram, a professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology and a senior author for the study, said. “There are very few places in the world outside of Boulder that we could have found so many fast runners.”

Kram said that while Nike funded the study, he did not believe that influenced the findings. He said he was confident that other researchers would find similar results, and that those results proved the shoes’ superiority.

“For performance, it seems very clear from this study that soft yet resilient shoes with thick cushioning are the way to go,” Kram said.

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