Sabin Helps Shoe Research

In this weeks AW (26th July 2012) it is reported that Tipton's own Ellis Sabin has been helping out with some cutting edge research into running shoes.

"ONE of the secrets of Bradley Wiggins' success in the Tour de France is his ability to cut through the air like a knife thanks to countless tests of his clothing and bicycle in wind tunnels. But a study at Birmingham City University believes runners are not making the most of potential advantages with their shoes. Research led by Professor Robert Ashford has revealed that a more aerodynamic running shoe could give an athlete a competitive advantage. They examined the drag on models of middle to long distance running shoes by running a series of wind tunnel tests and concluded that the aerodynamics of a shoe, both in terms of upper shoe design and the overall composition of the frontal aspects of the shoe, could potentially affect a runner's performance.

According to Prof Ashford, shoes that simulate the texture of a golf ball – for example featuring "dimples" – did well in the tests and proved to support better aerodynamic performance.

"In looking at diff erences in wind conditions, these small differences over a long period of time may actually affect energy consumption and ultimately the finishing time for an individual athlete – whether they are a professional or an amateur," said Prof Ashford.

Ellis Sabin, a 16-year-old middle distance runner with Tipton Harriers, helped to put the researchers' theories to the test on the running track. Prof Ashford added: "Very little research to date has been done on the material of running shoes and there is great potential here for the future."