A research team led by Birmingham City University has revealed that a more aerodynamic running shoe featuring 'dimples' could give runners a stronger competitive advantage. The study, which has been published in the International Journal of Sports Science and Engineering, concludes that a shoe designed to diminish the amount of drag could result in the athlete maximising and improving performance.
Focusing specifically on the upper shoe design and the overall composition of the frontal aspects of the shoe, the study claims that a product which simulates the texture of a gold ball - featuring dimples - did well in several tests and proved to support aerodynamic performance.
16 year old Ellis Sabin, an up-and-coming middle distance runner with West Midlands club Tipton Harriers, helped to put the researchers' theories to the test on the running track. The team set four different wind speeds to observe and measure how the shoes reacted to certain speeds in terms of their drag properties. The research revealed that the drag on the shoes varied.
Professor Robert Ashford, director of postgraduate research degrees at Birmingham City University's Faculty of Health, commented: "If looking at differences in wind conditions, these small differences over a long period of time may actually affect energy consumption and ultimately the finishing time for an individual athlete - whether they are a professional or an amateur."
The announcement is made in the run-up to many of Team GB's champions - including double gold medal-winner Mo Farah, long-jump champion Greg Rutherford and 400-meter silver winner Christine Ohuruogu - coming to the city to compete in the Birmingham Aviva Grand Prix athletics meeting tomorrow (Sunday 26 August).
The results of the academic project have been revealed on Birmingham City University's own news channel, which can be viewed here.