# Speedy Shoes

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#### Updated on Feb 05, 2012

Grade Level: 5th - 8th; Type: Physics

### Objective:

Determine whether different brands of athletic shoes really make you faster.

The purpose of this experiment is to evaluate different brands of running shoes in order to find out whether any of them affect a person’s ability to run.

• Are there any shoes that currently claim to increase an athlete’s speed?
• Are there certain brands of shoes that most athletes choose to wear?
• How to athletes choose which brands to wear?
• What claims have shoe companies made about their products in the past?

Shoe companies spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince the potential buyers that their brand will help a person run faster and perform better at sports. Flashy commercials are one way that these companies attempt to convince people to buy their shoes. Advertisers have to be careful, though, in making claims that their products help athletes perform better than other brands. Making false claims can lead to law suits by competitors. If the performance of a certain design does, on the other hand, outshine that of its competitors, the company is free to make the claim that their shoes do, in fact, increase athletic performance. Extensive tests, such as this experiment, need to be conducted to make sure that a certain brand of shoes helps an athlete run faster than another brand.

• Various brands or styles of running shoes
• A timer
• A few friends

It is not necessary to go out and buy a bunch of different shoes. You can borrow shoes from friends who have the same size feet as you. It may also be possible to find some shoes at thrift stores or garage sales.

1. Find a length of track to run on that is 50 meters long. This distance will allow a runner to sprint as fast as they can without getting too winded.
2. Put the first pair of shoes on.
3. Sprint the 50 meters and have a friend time you.
4. Record the results on a chart such as the one below.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 two more times.
6. Average the results of the run by adding the three times together and dividing by three.
7. (optional) Have your friend wear the same shoes and complete steps 3 through 6. Make sure that the shoes fit your friend as well, because ill-fitting shoes can lead to injury or can affect the results of the experiment.
8. Take a twenty minute break to get your energy back up.
9. Put on another pair of shoes.
10. Repeat steps 3 through 8.
11. Put on another pair of shoes.
12. Repeat steps 3 through 7.
13. Finish the experiment for the day. Return the next day and complete the experiment with other brands of shoes. Do not perform more than three trials on a single day.
14. Continue in this manner until you have tested all the shoes that you selected for the experiment.
 Brand Time Average (Friend) Brand (Friend) Time (Friend) Average Brand 1 X Brand 1 X Brand 1 X Brand 1 X (trial 1 + trial 2 + trial 3)/3 Brand 2

Terms/Concepts: Speed; Athletic shoe design; Advertising; False advertising

References:

Writer and educator Crystal Beran is rarely seen without a pen. Her adventures have brought her to four continents and her quest for answers has led her to discover more questions than she could fill all the pages with. She currently resides in Northern California, where she can be found sipping tea and writing books.