In order to further compare shod versus barefoot running, 35 subjects ran two bouts of 4 minutes at 3.33 m x s(-1) on a treadmill dynamometer. Parameters were measured on about 60 consecutive steps. Barefoot showed mainly lower contact and flight time (p < 0.05), lower passive peak (1.48 versus 1.70 body weight, p < 0.05), higher braking and pushing impulses (p < 0.05), and higher pre-activation of triceps surae muscles (p < 0.05) than shod. It was concluded that when performed on a sufficient number of steps, barefoot running leads to a reduction of impact peak in order to reduce the high mechanical stress occurring during repetitive steps. This neural-mechanical adaptation could also enhance the storage and restitution of elastic energy at ankle extensors level.
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