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Adri Hartveld is reinventing the running shoe.

The Dutch entrepreneur has developed a radical new design, now being tested at Staffordshire University in the UK. He told euronews what his project entails:

“It’s the heelless running shoe, and as you can see, it’s got no heel. But it’s got a shock plate which replaces the padded heel, which means that the heel impact is greatly reduced. And that then prevents running injuries,” he says.

Adri’s shoes encourage people to use the middle of their feet, just like barefoot runners.

The idea is to put less stress on the knee and ankle; some runners’ techniques put the force into the heel, which increases their chances of picking up injuries.

Nachi Chockalingam is a Professor of Clinical Biomechanics at Staffordshire University and has studied how different people run and how it can affect them. He told us:

“There are a lot of people who would have the heel portion of the foot striking the ground as they run, some of them the mid portion of the foot, some of them forefoot.

“This shock plate, the patented technology, the concept behind it is when we apply the force, there’s no heel, so the force is not going to go through there, the force is going to go through there (the middle of the foot).”

The scientists are giving independent analysis of the shoes as part of a European Union research initiative and Nachi is part of that team.

“The data that we are collecting would inform us in terms of how our lower limb joints work, so we’re looking at hip angles, knee angles, and we have also measured how the muscles work, whether the muscles work differently when comparing to conventional running shoes and heelless shoes,” he explains.

Adri knows he faces a challenge convincing sports shoe companies to buy into his idea. But as the study continues, he says the feedback he has been receiving has been good:

“When people try them on for the first time it just takes a few steps to get used to them, they are actually surprised how stable they are, and then they feel the shoe is much more bouncy than other shoes and they are inclined to walk fast and get into a run quite quickly.”

You can find more information on the heelless running shoes at heelless.org/

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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