Conservation of Energy of Running Shoes

Finding the right shoe is a highly debated subject in the running world. Shoe companies and engineers are constantly coming up with newer and “better” shoes. The purpose of this experiment was to determine what type of running shoe (Brooks, Reebok Reezig, or Nike Track Spike) conserved the most energy through impact.

For the experiment, the three shoes listed above were dropped on three different surfaces (gym floor, track, grass). The displacement of the shoes was tracked using a motion sensor. The initial and rebound heights of the shoes were used to calculate a ratio of the energy conserved. Three separate ANOVA tests were used to compare the results of each shoe on each of the three surfaces. All three tests produced a p-value of approximately zero, showing a significant difference of energy conserved by each shoe on each of the three testing surfaces. Based on stacked box plots of the shoes’ results on each surface, the Nike track shoe had a significantly lower ratio on the gym floor than the other shoes, the Brooks shoe was significantly higher on the track, and the Nike track shoe was significantly lower on grass. Additionally, two separate two sample t-tests were conducted to further evaluate the gym floor and grass trials. The tests showed conclusively that Reebok performed significantly better than all other shoes on the gym floor. There was not a significant difference in energy conservation between Brooks and Reebok when tested on the grass surface, both conserved significantly more energy than the Nike test shoe.

Research Done By:

Brendan Fitzpatrick
Warren Woods Tower High School

Ethan Ottoy
Lakeview High School