Debuting this fall in the US, Nike Golf shoes have become a favorite among elite runners and triathletes.
With a lightweight design, they can be worn comfortably for long periods of time.
However, while they can run long distances, they are less efficient for running on grass.
In fact, a new study suggests Nike Golf shoe may be more efficient for short bursts of running, but only when running in the sand.
“We are using sand as a benchmark for running and the running shoe industry is focused on finding ways to make running more efficient and less energy-intensive,” says Paul Moseley, the lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
“Sand is a better choice than synthetic running shoes because you are getting a softer, smoother, more breathable material.”
The research team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recruited more than 600 people who ran in three running competitions and a three-day race.
The participants were instructed to run in the same manner as they did during the previous training session and to alternate between two or three different running shoes.
The researchers also measured oxygen uptake, running pace and the overall oxygen uptake.
The results showed that the average oxygen uptake was 4.2 percent higher in the shoes, while the average speed was up to 3.9 percent faster.
This increase in efficiency was the result of running in sand, where the shoe’s material is less elastic, and therefore more water resistance.
While the researchers did not measure any differences in running performance, they did find that sand improved running performance by 15 to 30 percent, on average.
The team plans to expand the study to include more people in future studies to determine if sand is a suitable choice for running, or if running in water is the best option.
“If sand were to replace running shoes, then running in a sand shoe would be ideal for a number of reasons,” says Mosely.
“First, you are more efficient at long distances.
Second, you can run more smoothly.
Third, you get a softer material that is easier to breathe.
And fourth, you will not have to worry about the risk of getting drenched.”