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Hébert-Losier, K., Dai, B., Nunome, H., Kong, P. W., Hobara, H., Hsu, W.-C., Bradshaw, E. J., Fong, D. T. P., & Vanwanseele, B. (2022). Reporting guidelines for running biomechanics and footwear studies using three-dimensional motion capture. Sports Biomechanics. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14763141.2022.2110149
Running shoes act as an interface between the foot and the ground and play a central role in running. Running shoes are constantly evolving (Bermon, 2021; Davis, 2014), as is the research on running biomechanics and footwear (Malisoux & Theisen, 2020; Nigg et al., 2020; Patoz et al., 2022). Experts agree that comfort, injury prevention, and performance are important factors to consider in the design and manufacturing of running footwear (Honert et al., 2020); however, these topics are often complex to investigate due to their multifactorial (Barnes & Kilding, 2015; Esculier et al., 2020; Menz & Bonanno, 2021), individualised (Hébert-Losier et al., 2022; Moore, 2016), or subjective (Menz & Bonanno, 2021) nature with no clear evidence-based direction for footwear prescription (Malisoux & Theisen, 2020; Richards et al., 2009).
The running footwear literature seems in a constant state of debate, whether with regards to the role of footwear in enhancing performance (Burns & Tam, 2020), reducing the risk of injury (Malisoux & Theisen, 2020), or promoting a more natural style of running (Davis, 2014). In addition, the inconsistency in footwear taxonomy and how footwear properties are measured and reported (Ramsey et al., 2019) make it challenging to derive strong or meaningful inferences from the running biomechanics and footwear literature.
It is nonetheless clear that footwear can affect running biomechanics with performance (Hébert-Losier et al., 2022; Joubert & Jones, 2022; Sun et al., 2020) and injury (Malisoux et al., 2022; Sun et al., 2020) ramifications. It is also clear that there is a replication and confidence of results crisis in exercise science and sports biomechanics (Caldwell et al., 2020; Knudson, 2017), again challenging our capability as scientists to make strong inferences from the scientific literature. Transparent and clear reporting of methods and adopting strong methodological procedures are part of the solution. The Standardisation and Terminology Committee of the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) has published several recommendations regarding definitions and reporting standards to guide the biomechanics community and enhance communication among researchers and practitioners (Derrick et al., 2020; Leardini et al., 2021; Wu et al., 1995, 2002, 2005). The Editorial Board of Sports Biomechanics endorses and encourages all authors to consult these recommendations. The purpose of this editorial is not to supersede the ISB recommendations. Rather, our purpose is to highlight some key considerations for running biomechanics and footwear research involving three-dimensional (3D) motion capture technology. Although the considerations here focus on 3D motion capture technology specifically, these principles extend to other kinematics or kinetics data collection methods, which can be used as general methodological and reporting guidelines for running biomechanics and footwear research. The scope of this editorial is not to prescribe methodological approaches, market sets, models, or data processing approaches. Rather, our aim is to outline a series of considerations and recommendations for running biomechanics and footwear research involving 3D motion capture with regards to the transparent and clear reporting of methods, to encourage opportunities for replication studies in this topical area of research. Replication studies are needed to build standards of cumulative evidence, especially in the areas of footwear prescription and injury prevention (Valentine et al., 2011).
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