The Importance of Footwear and Planar Flexion in Accelerating to 10 Meters


In the world of sprinting, getting off to a quick start is essential for success. The ability to accelerate rapidly in the first 10 meters can make or break a race. This article will delve into the critical role that footwear and planar flexion play in achieving this goal. Before we explore planar flexion, let’s first examine the significance of the shoes you train in.

The Impact of Shoe Choice:

A study conducted by researchers at Harvard in the field of exercise science highlighted the trade-offs associated with shoe choice. They found that different shoe designs can have both positive and negative effects on athletic performance.

Cost of Locomotion:

A significant finding from the study was that a leg swing during sprinting consumes approximately 20% of your energy. Therefore, improving energy efficiency in sprinting becomes crucial.
Interestingly, for every increase of 100 grams in shoe weight, it costs an additional 1% of energy. This underscores the importance of lightweight footwear.

Consistency of Shoe Material:

To optimize energy conservation, it is crucial for the entire bottom of the shoe to be made of the same material with consistent stiffness throughout. Many shoes incorporate air pockets or different materials in their design, which can hinder performance.
Compressive Stiffness:

Shoe thickness, especially in the heel area, can significantly impact ground reaction forces. A thicker heel can lead to a more substantial peak force upon impact during heel strikes.
The question arises as to whether excessively thick heels are necessary, as they may hinder the development of ankle and planar flexor strength over time.

Shoe Height:

Increased shoe height can promote early heel strikes and place the foot in a less favorable planar flex position. Ankle torque output is most effective at slightly above 90 degrees, and elevated heels may prevent proper utilization of planar flexion.
Flaring on the Side:

Shoes with extra flaring on the sides can prevent pronation and inversion but may lead to medial knee pain if foot mechanics are not addressed.
Sensory Perception:

Thicker shoe soles reduce sensory perception, making it challenging to transition to shoes with thinner soles, such as carbon fiber sprinting shoes.
Foot Muscle Strength and Arch Support:

Arch support in shoes can limit strain on the planar fascia but may lead to muscle atrophy. It is essential to encourage foot muscle strength and maintain intrinsic muscle function to create a stable and supportive arch.

Exercises to Promote Planar Flexion:

Toe-Up Exercise:

Keep your toes up while training to activate and strengthen the muscles responsible for planar flexion.
Rolling over the top of the foot can help create the necessary hinge for effective planar flexion.
Calf Raise Machine:

Traditional calf raise machines can be effective when performed with proper form, focusing on the ball of the big toe to ensure a forward movement rather than purely vertical.
Planar Flexion in Sprinting:

Planar flexion plays a pivotal role in sprinting acceleration, accounting for 50 to 90% of power output in the first 10 meters. It is essential to generate power efficiently during these critical moments.


In the quest to accelerate to 10 meters in sprinting, understanding the impact of footwear and the importance of planar flexion are paramount. Choosing the right shoes and promoting proper foot mechanics through exercises can significantly enhance your performance in those crucial first strides. Sprinters should prioritize lightweight, consistent shoes that allow for optimal planar flexion, ultimately leading to more efficient and powerful starts.

Other Important considerations for short sprinting 

Triphasic Training Method 13 – Spring Ankle Training Method

Triphasic Training Principle 8 – Toe Glute Reflex Principle

Triphasic Training Principle 9 – Triphasic Training Triple Stack

Triphasic Training Principle 13 – Dynamic Power Potentiation Cycling Methods (DPPC)

Triphasic Training Principle 15 – Functional Transfer Complex Principle

Triphasic Training Principle 22 – High Velocity Potentiation Clusters

Triphasic Training Method 1 – Speed and Skill Optimization – A Proposal for a New Practice Paradigm

Triphasic Training Method 7 – Change of Direction Series for Athletic Performance