Smart Shoes Could Help Runners Hit Their Stride (page 2)

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For example, Pegasus Sports Performance, a U.S. company, has developed a shoe sensor that measures eight aspects of the foot's motion as it hits the ground, including the dynamic of the kick. Pegasus' system also links to a smartphone and the Internet.

However, Dicharry said that although researchers have focused their innovations on gathering data on the way the foot hits the ground, there are problems with relying on that data. For instance, there's not necessarily one "right" way to run, because each person's body is a bit different.

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"There are thousands of variations of foot strikes that are all OK," he said. "If you put a sensor on the shoe, it says how you strike, but not why." In his own lab, Dicharry measures the movement of the leg and the angle of the body, as well as the position of the center of gravity.

Max Prokopy, director of the SPEED Clinic at the University of Virginia, has studied the techniques of elite runners. He said he agreed that the data from the feet alone isn't always complete.

"You need more detail than foot insoles could give," Prokopy said. "You need a full biomechanical exam." Still, the new wearable technology is good for getting feedback quickly, and allowing the runner to try different postures, styles or strides, he said.

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