The challenges of athletic footwear design

  • Mario A. Lafortune
Keywords: biomechanics research, footwear, sport performance, injury prevention


The three main needs of athletes are performance, injury protection and comfort. Footwear enhances performance through increases in traction and biomechanical efficiency. Footwear protects the foot at the interface with the ground and the entire body against the forces resulting from repeated feet-ground impacts. Footwear can also reduce injuries by correcting for the locomotor system static structural misalignments. Footwear uppers, insoles or sockliners being considered upper elements, are responsible to maintain the feet over the shoe soles. Uppers fit is most important to athletes’ comfort.