Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Study Spotlight: "PF Flyers, Guaranteed to Make a Kid Run Faster and Jump Higher"

As a kid who grew up watching the movie Sandlot, I always wanted a pair of PF Flyers, shoes guaranteed to make you run faster and jump higher according to Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. 
Was Benny on to something or do shoes provide false hopes as to how they can influence performance?  Recently researchers designed a study to determine if footwear influenced jumping ability in 15 males.

What did they do?
Researchers had the subjects complete a vertical jump and standing long jump under 3 different conditions:

1    Wearing cross-trainers
2    Wearing minimalist shoes
3    Barefoot.

Researchers then assessed subjective measures of comfort, jumping ability and muscle activation during the jumps.

What did they find?

Subjects reported higher levels of comfort during the jumps when they were wearing cross-trainers compared to the barefoot and minimalist conditions.   However there were not any differences in jumping distance between any of the conditions suggesting that the type of footwear likely will not have an impact on how far/high you can jump.  Some differences in muscle activation of the lower legs did occur during the jumps however they did not impact the jumps.  Over time these differences in muscle activation could lead to altered training adaptations but it’s difficult to know for sure based on this study. Don’t tell the shoe market but maybe the kind of shoe doesn’t matter?

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