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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 May;106(2):305-9. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-1024-7. Epub 2009 Mar 11.

Effects of footwear on plantar foot sensitivity: a study with Formula 1 shoes.

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Department of Human Locomotion, Faculty of Philosophy, Institute for Sport Science, Chemnitz University of Technology, 09107, Chemnitz, Germany.


The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of Formula 1 footwear on the ability of the plantar foot to detect vibration stimuli. Twenty-five male subjects participated in the study. Five foot/shoe conditions were analysed (barefoot and four shoe conditions). Vibration thresholds were measured at three anatomical locations of the plantar foot (heel, first metatarsal head and hallux) at two frequencies (30 and 200 Hz). The results show a frequency-dependent influence of footwear on foot sensitivity. The comparison between barefoot and shod conditions showed lower thresholds (P < 0.01) for the barefoot condition at 30 Hz, whereas lower thresholds (P < 0.01) were found for all shoe conditions at 200 Hz compared to barefoot. Lower thresholds (P < 0.01) were measured at 200 Hz in comparison to 30 Hz in all experimental conditions. The shoe outsole material seems to facilitate the transmission of high-frequent vibration stimuli to the skin, resulting in better vibration sensitivity at 200 Hz when wearing Formula 1 shoes compared to barefoot.

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