Shoe monitor for athletes

Loughborough University engineers are to take the first step towards developing a new monitoring technique for assessing the performance of athletes.

A team at the university will carry out a feasibility study into incorporating advanced instrumentation into a running shoe, allowing it to generate unique feedback on the motion of the wearer.

According to Loughborough, the analysis of athletes in motion is currently restricted to indirect monitoring techniques such as video recording. Direct analysis, with real-time data collected from the actual measurement of a foot’s interaction with a surface, has to be carried out in a laboratory rather than a real track or training environment.

The Loughborough engineers will investigate the possibility of equipping a shoe or insole with instruments that could provide useful feedback in areas such as running technique and analysis of foot/surface contact.

The project, called ShoeSMART, could help athletes prepare for competition more effectively and aid rehabilitation from injury, it is claimed.

The one year study has been awarded £54,000 by the EPSRC. The team said it plans to evaluate the requirements of athletes and trainers, evaluate current technology and produce details of the further work needed to create a fully instrumented shoe.