The below GIF isn’t your typical animation, although if it were, it certainly would be a pretty neat one.


Instead these are images from a data-driven 3-D robotic model of someone running.

The data that are fed into this robotic model come from 3-D motion measurements of joint and limb segment motions that are taken simultaneously with ground reaction force measurements. My research team and I helped pioneer this type of integrative analysis, which we used to study a variety of movements, including walking and running. As we were the first to do this complete, in-depth analysis, we made many discoveries about the natural muscle and joint mechanics of walking and running, and the effects of different types of footwear, resulting in numerous peer-reviewed research publications, as well as in the birth of OESH.

To do a study, typically it would take pouring through oodles of graphs and plots of things like pressures through the knee joint. But when all was said and published, I’d use a handy-dandy robot like this one to explain.

The size of the green arrowed line represents the magnitude and direction of the ground reaction force (which is equal and opposite to what the body imparts to the ground). The red lines are the muscles.

If you study the video, you can appreciate that at the moment of “impact,” when the foot makes its first contact with the ground, the green arrowed line is small. Only later when the foot is fully planted, when most of the weight is on the forefoot, is the force imparted to the ground at its maximum. Similarly, the forces through the joints, muscles, tendons, fascia, and ligaments are at their maximum not at impact but later, when the foot is fully planted. It has long been assumed that the greatest forces occur at impact and shoes have been designed around that assumption. OESH, are the only shoes designed to respond when forces through the joints, muscles, tendons, fascia, and ligaments are at their maximum.

We just uploaded these images to our OESH Concept Page as well as to our OESH Research Page. Stay tuned to those pages as we will shortly launch a similar image of someone walking.


5 replies on “The Ultimate Gait Analysis

  • Dave Tughan

    This raises some interesting questions. I can see that the initial impact may not be where the largest stress/ground reaction force occurs IF the runner is using good form (ie – landing on a flexed knee, with the shin vertical or nearly vertical, whatever part of the foot is actually landed on). But I thought shoes were designed with cushioning to protect people who don’t do that (ie – landing on a straight leg, with the heel out in front of the knee, as in the second image (from Asics) in Larson’s article on form ).

    I guess what I’m asking is: would somebody with “bad” form in terms of the landing leg (overstriding) still show the pattern you describe here? I’m asking because I’ve been working on my form, with stride length/foot placement/cadence being one of the main changes. If impact at the landing point is irrelevant with all variables in terms of the placement of the landing foot, then I’m wasting a lot of time thinking about this. If not, though, and you’re describing a pattern that applies only to runners with “good” form, then that’s an important caveat.

    • Casey

      Regardless of form, whether you over stride or not, the initial impact will be small in comparison to the force that occurs in midstance. It’s the force in midstance, not at impact, that dictate the peak loads through the joints (and ligaments and tendons). Over striding increases initial impact but more importantly from an injury perspective, increases the force in midstance. Traditional cushioned running shoes can reduce that initial impact but simultaneously, and more significantly, increase the force (and joint loads) in midstance.

  • Tyson park

    This is so good animation that I watch it every day. As I am training for next month Boston marathon, the importance of ground reinforce elastic energy is the essential element for marathoner. Thank you so much. I also planning in barefoot, and I’m only 72 years young. My goal is 4:00 hours but I’m not so sure I could do it. I’m really intrigued your shoes with your research background. My foot size is 9. So, woman size 11 should fit for my feet. What do you think?

    • admin

      I’m glad you like it. It really does make much of our research findings obvious from a visual standpoint. I think a size 11 OESH will be the perfect fit for you, providing you ample room in the toe area. And your studying this, I know you’re going to especially appreciate the elastic response from the OESH Sole. Good luck on the Boston – I bet you do it. Let us know, especially if you do it in OESH!


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