Children are more active during the school day than at other times  and because school shoes are required as part of a uniform in many countries research on school shoes is required. This study aimed to determine the effect of school shoes on the ankle joint complex motion of children while running.
Materials and methods
Twenty children (mean age 9 years (SD2.3)) performed five running trials at a self-selected velocity barefoot and wearing school shoes (Daytona, Clarks) in a random order. A 14 camera 200Hz motion analysis system (EVaRT5.0, MAC) was used to calculate marker trajectories. Markers were attached to the right leg and a cluster wand was attached to the calcaneus through a window in the shoe. A standing reference trial was used to embed segment axes and then calculate ankle joint complex motion. Force plate data were collected at 1000Hz (Kistler™). Data were normalised to the stance phase and sub-phases partitioned from the anterior/posterior force data as: loading (initial-contact – maximum-negative force); mid-stance (maximum-negative force – zero) and propulsion (positive force – toe-off).
Shoes delayed the maximum-posterior force (22.8% to 29.3%; p<0.0001) and the zero crossing of the anterior-posterior force (41.1% to 43.6%; p=0.021). During loading shoes increased ankle range of motion (ROM) in the sagittal (9.9° to 13.8°; p=0.007) and transverse planes (5.7° to 7.7°; p=0.007). During midstance shoes decreased ankle frontal plane ROM (3.7° to 2.8°; p=0.037). During propulsion shoes increased ankle ROM in the sagittal plan (30.3° to 33.3°; p=0.018) and decreased frontal plane ROM (14.4° to 12.0°; p=0.042). Overall stance phase sagittal plane ROM increased in shoes (31.2° to 34.2°; p=0.034).
This study shows that school shoes increase sagittal ankle motion during loading and propulsion, but decrease frontal plane motion during mid-stance and propulsion. These findings will assist in harmonising school shoe design with foot function.