The impact of grounding in running shoes on indices of performance in elite competitive athletes

Borja Muniz-Pardos, Irina Zelenkova, Alex Gonzalez-Aguero, Melanie Knopp, Toni Boitz, Martin Graham, Daniel Ruiz, José Antonio Casajus, Yannis Pitsiladis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The introduction of carbon fiber plate shoes has triggered a plethora of world records in running, which has encouraged shoe industries to produce novel shoe designs to enhance running performance, including shoes containing conductor elements or "grounding shoes" (GS), which could potentially reduce the energy cost of running. The aim of this study was to examine the physiological and perceptual responses of athletes subjected to grounding shoes during running. Ten elite runners were recruited. Firstly, the athletes performed an incremental running test for VO max and anaerobic threshold (AT) determination, and were familiarized with the two shoe conditions (traditional training shoe (TTS) and GS, the latter containing a conductor element under the insole). One week apart, athletes performed running economy tests (20 min run at 80% of the AT) on a 400 m dirt track, with shoe conditions randomized. VO , heart rate, lactate, and perceived fatigue were registered throughout the experiment. No differences in any of the physiological or perceptual variables were identified between shoe conditions, with an equal running economy in both TTS and GS (51.1 ± 4.2 vs. 50.9 ± 5.1 mL kg min , respectively). Our results suggest that a grounding stimulus does not improve the energy cost of running, or the physiological/perceptual responses of elite athletes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1317
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a contract from adidas AG with the University of Zaragoza, Spain (Project: “Testing support for innovation project”; number 2021/0348).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • earthing
  • environmental psychology
  • running performance
  • running economy
  • shoe technology
  • grounding


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