The 14th Biennial Footwear Biomechanics Symposium saw a record 285 delegates assemble at the prestigious Kananaskis Resort at the base of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The organising team of Brent Edwards, Sandro Nigg, Anja-Verena Behling and Bill Wannop are thanked and congratulated for developing such a strong conference programme, delivered in such a beautiful setting that provided optimal opportunity for professional and social interaction.
The programme included 120 high quality presentations over three days, with four keynotes, five invited presentations, 57 free-communication oral presentations and 54 posters. The new addition of an afternoon of social activity for this meeting ensured delegates had a chance to enjoy the conference surroundings, with guided hikes and white water rafting providing additional opportunity for social interaction with fellow delegates, their families and the local bear population.
Thirteen sponsors and exhibitors are thanked for their valued financial support. Many of these have been regular sponsors for many years and contribute greatly to the success of these meetings.
Keynotes and Invited Talks
Four invited keynote speakers provided stimulating presentations on a wide range of topics:
- Thor Besier, Associate Professor at the University of Auckland - ‘Personalisation of biomechanical models for injury prevention’ - evaluated the challenges of developing personalised biomechanical models, with examples of some of the recent advances such as the use of medical imaging to obtain individualised material properties for improved personalisation.
- Breanne Everett, medical doctor and resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Calgary - ‘The future of health: science-informed product development’ - provided an insightful account of her professional journey, where identification of a specific problem has inspired a change in career direction, leading to the founding of a company and the development of new medical devices.
- Richard Kent, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace at the University of Virginia - ‘Footwear and injury prevention in elite American football’ - described in (graphic) detail how methods developed in the automobile industry have been applied to improved understanding of acute injury risk in elite American football.
- Rodger Kram, Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado - ‘Shoes, running economy and distance running performance’ – provided a stimulating account of the historical advancements in understanding of the role of footwear in influencing running economy. Recent testing of the Nike Vaporfly shoe provided an excellent example of the role of science in understanding the potential of footwear design characteristics to influence running economy and performance.
The addition of five invited presentations for this conference provided high quality talks from academic and industry-based speakers, highlighting the strong integration of science and industry in our field. Helen Woo (UnderArmour) and Matthew Nurse (Nike) provided us with both general and specific examples of scientific applications within industry, particularly helpful for early career scientists considering their career direction. Presentations by Julie Steele and Isabel Sacco reminded us that that this conference is not just about sports, with examples of coal mining boots and minimal footwear for osteoarthritic patients, respectively. Of relevance to all footwear types, Sarah Ridge presented evidence on the role of footwear in influencing foot structure and function, with a focus on intrinsic muscle size and strength.
The Prizes and Celebration
The closing banquet saw FBG Chair Helen Woo close the conference, including the presentation of four research prizes (details below) – congratulations to all award winners. Congratulations also to recipients of the new student travel grants, awarded to Pieter Van den Berghe (Ghent University, supervisor Dirk de Clercq) and Ethan Steiner (University of Massachusetts, supervisor Katherine Boyer).
The highlight of the evening was presentation of the inaugural FBG Career Excellence Award to Dr E.C. (Ned) Frederick. This award, established by the organisers of FBS2019 together with the FBS Executive Board, has been introduced to recognise outstanding lifetime contributions to footwear science. Professor Benno Nigg introduced the award with an entertaining account of Ned’s career in the field, highlighting some of his key contributions. These include being the first to establish and lead a research lab for a sports shoe company, author of 7 books and several patents relating to footwear, founder and editor-in-chief of the Footwear Science journal and developer of many of the standardised methods for shoe testing used in universities and industry across the World. In acceptance of the award, Ned described the unique footwear science ‘family’, a characteristic driven by our genuine interest and passion to improve footwear design using strong scientific evidence. Despite the growth in conference size since the first meeting at University of Calgary 25 years ago to the record attendance when hosted by Calgary again this year, the ‘family’ values remain.
We look forward to Footwear Biomechanics Symposium 2021 in Visby, Sweden. In the interim, there will be a FBG session as part of the iFAB 2020 meeting in Brazil.
Running profiles of recreational distance runners: race, training, spatiotemporal and anthropometrical characteristics
Using dynamic foot morphology data to design spacesuit footwear
The run alternate study: examining the effect of training and footwear variability in the prevention of running pain and injuries
Ground reaction forces don’t indicate tibial forces: implications for injury prevention, shoe design & wearable tech
Effect of footwear on plantar flexor fine-wire electromyography activity in walking