Shoe Outcome

Measuring Ride and Transition for Better Shoes

March 28, 2023

Surely, you’ve heard someone say, “This shoe has the smoothest ride” or “It transitions well,” but is there a scientific way to measure this? This blog post explores the science of Ride and how you can use this information to make better shoes.

Until recently, footwear designers, developers, or marketers simply stated a shoe has smooth transitions. There were not measurements! This is particularly true in the running industry.

In 2018, researchers from University of Calgary published a unique study that defines Ride as “The feeling of the shoe during heel–toe walking or running as the foot transitions from heel to forefoot during the stance phase of gait and can be described as either being smooth or not smooth.” The researchers evaluated perception of this on human runners using a 15mm visual analog scale with “smoothest ride ever” on one end of the scale and “least smooth ride ever” on the other. They compared these perception scores to plantar pressure data, specifically the anterior-posterior velocity of the runner’s plantar pressure.

Additional research articles published in 2019 and 2020 furthered the understanding of how perceived Ride compares to ankle joint mechanics and other subjective feedback about running shoes.

Heeluxe utilized these studies and consultations with the researchers to develop an ordinal scale for Ride in 2019. Here is the 5-point scale:

Perception Scale For Ride

Hiking, running, and walking studies utilize this question. The amount we’ve learned about Ride is too much to include in this blog post. Here are a few of our favorite findings:

  • Shoes with Smoother Ride are also considered more comfortable
  • Shoes with Smoother Ride for one activity will not have it for all activities. For instance, a hiking boot for good ride when hiking downhill may not have good ride on flat ground walking.
  • Ride is correlated to Force Plate and Impact Test measurements.

Heeluxe encourages all footwear brands to include Ride in their fit and wear testing. Footwear brands or researchers with questions about this topic and other areas of perception testing should email to learn more.