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International conference on footwear


World-leading sports researchers and the shoe industry will gather in mid-July for a conference on footwear hosted by the University of Gothenburg. Some of the topics that will be in focus are if performance enhancing shoes should be regulated in competitions and the role of running shoes in preventing injuries.

The Footwear Biomechanics Symposium is a biennial international research conference. This year, the University of Gothenburg is hosting the conference in collaboration with The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH).

The conference will be held July 21-23 and will end on the same day as the Japan Olympics starts. It seems like a coincidence. One of the keynote speakers at the conference is Sebastian Coe, two-time Olympic gold medalist and current chairman of World Athletics, and the round table discussion of the conference will be about the new type of performance enhancing shoes that might be regulated in competitions.

Portrait of Stefan Grau.
Stefan Grau.

– There is clear evidence that those running shoes make you faster. Several world records in long distance running have also been broken in recent years. The specifity of them is that they have a certain construction, for example stiff carbon plate, that return energy to the push-off phase. World Athletics now wants to control these technologies as they see it as artificial support, says Stefan Grau, professor of sports science and responsible for the conference.

Shoes that can be used in injury prevention

Around 250 researchers, students and representatives from the footwear industry are expected to attend the conference. In addition to Sebastian Coe, Rasmus Østergaard Nielsen and Rana Hinman are also keynote speakers. They will lecture on the importance of running shoes in preventing injuries and how shoes can be used in rehabilitation.

– Most of shoe research today is in the field of sports. But there is also need in the clinical field although only a limited amount of research and resources are allocated to this. With this keynote, we intend to open the door to researchers in the clinical field to do research also related to shoes, says Stefan Grau.

A key aspect of the conference is that researchers and representatives from shoe manufacturers meet.

– It is important as the industry will be informed about the latest research which gives them the opportunity to improve their footwear or to develop new footwear. For the researchers, especially young researchers and students, it is also important to get known by the industry, as many young researchers will work in the shoe industry later.

The 15th biennial Footwear Biomechanics Symposium

Digital international conference July 21–23.
More information at it's website.