A British study published in Footwear Science analyzed the effects of running in experimental heelless footwear compared with conventional running shoes with reinforced heels. The objective was to see if the heelless footwear would reduce the risk of chronic injury related to the habitual rear-foot strike pattern associated with conventional heeled shoes.
Using eight cameras with opto-electric running motion capture, 12 male runners were tracked at four meters per second. The heelless running shoe resulted in less impact, greater plantar flexion and greater ankle eversion (rolling outward). The researchers concluded that the heelless shoe effected a lower risk of chronic running foot injuries linked to excessive impact forces, but concede they may increase injury potential associated with excessive ankle eversion (twisting).