STUDY OF COMFORT ASSOCIATED WITH TENNIS FOOTWEAR

  • Salvador Llana
  • Gabriel Brizuela
  • Enrique Alcántara
  • Antonio Martínez
  • Ana Cruz García
Keywords: comfort, subjective tests, footwear, tennis

Abstract

Since the first studies by Shackel and cols. (1969), subjective tests based on the compilation of information by means of so-called ‘comfort questionnaires’ have been widely used in ergonomics. However, this method has seldom been used in the study of sports footwear. This method implies the use of three types of questionnaires to collect information about ‘general comfort’, ‘pain in body areas’ and ‘subjective opinion’ (errors in footwear design). The present study used this method to analyze the comfort associated with the footwear used in tennis practice. The data were collected by means of personal interviews in which each item was scored according to a Likert type scale. The questionnaires were administered in different courts in 5 tennis clubs in the area of Valencia. A total of 146 questionnaires were filled out; therefore the maximum sampling error is 8% (tennis player population 4000). A descriptive analysis was made of the variables under consideration. The associations of comfort and pain in body areas and design errors were evaluated by means of cross tabulation and chi square. A factor analysis was made of pain in body areas and footwear design errors in order to define independent factors (summary variables) which grouped those variables related between them and those independent of the others, by the analysis of the principal components, rotation by the varimax method, taking values above 1 and considering the component values above 0.5. The results show that 9% of the players consider their footwear uncomfortable, 23% consider it acceptable and 68% regard it as comfortable. However, a great number of design errors were detected, as well as pain in body areas related to the use of footwear. The factor analysis allowed us to establish 4 pain factors (attributable to wrong shock absorption, wrong pressure distribution and wrong footwear structural adaptation to the foot) and 6 design errors. A later correlation analysis established a relationship among these factors, of which we can point out the correlation (r=0.1866 and p=0.022) of a wrong plantar pressure distribution and a wrong arch support. REFERENCES: Shackel, B. Chidsey, K. D., Shipley, P. The Assessment of Chair Comfort. Ergonomics 12, 269-286.