FBS 2023 – Osaka, Japan

The 16th Biennial Symposium of the Footwear Biomechanics Group took place in Osaka, Japan. This event drew participation of more than 250 attendees from various corners of the globe, all hosted by an exceptional team led by Mr. Natsuki Sato from Mizuno Corporation. The impressive Morinomiya University of Medical Sciences campus served as the venue for engaging oral and poster presentations, as well as other related meetings. The FBG extends its gratitude to the local organizing committee for orchestrating such an outstanding program, which facilitated both professional and social exchanges.

Under the theme “Footwear For Everybody,” the conference focused on the evolving roles of footwear science. The scope of footwear performance extends beyond just athletes to encompass individuals of all ages, including children, adults, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Footwear is employed not only within competitive sports but also across various daily and work-related settings, such as transportation and healthcare. The keynotes and invited presentations during the event underscored the significance of footwear science and the expanding domain of footwear biomechanics.

The symposium featured an extensive program spanning three days, with numerous presentations of exceptional quality. Among these were one keynote panel titled “The rich research tapestry that foreshadowed Advanced Footwear Technology and what it suggests for the future” by Dr Darren Stefanyshyn and Dr Wouter Hoogkamer), two keynote speakers with titles “The importance of prescription footwear for children with neurological conditions” (Dr Nicky Eddison) and “Low Running offers a way to make recreational distance running a viable physical activity option for more people”(Dr Dirk de Clercq) and an invited speaker Dr Masaaki Mochimaru presenting on “Human augmentation researches toward Digital Servitization of Healthcare and Sports business”. The program also included 36 free-communication oral presentations, and 49 posters. The afternoon dedicated to social activities provided attendees with the opportunity to savor the culinary delights of Japan while also engaging in a fun Takoyaki-making session.

Student-Industry Event

Having become a valuable tradition, the conference provided room for specific exchanges between academic students and industry people organized by the student and industry representatives (Sabina Manz, Thorsten Sterzing). During this conference, the event focused on the sharing of experiences related to transitioning/not transitioning from academics to industry. Five invited speakers (Laura Healey – Puma USA, Masanori Sakaguchi – Asics Japan, Marlene Giandolini – Salomon France, Steffen Willwacher – Hochschule Offenburg Germany, Colin Firminger – Lululemon Canada) are thanked for illustrative information on their milestones, successes, and also occasional struggles during this time span.

Industry-Academia collaboration

The conference also had the opportunity to look behind the scenes at athletic footwear brands and reflect on their approach to current topics in our industry. This time the brand session focussed on insights and background information related to the conference theme ‘Footwear for Everybody’. Representatives of six brands (Daniel Ruiz – Adidas Germany, Norihiko Taniguchi – Asics Japan, Jennifer Sumner – Brooks USA, Jane Cappaert – Nike USA, Koji Ito – Mizuno Japan, Marlene Giandolini – Salomon France) are thanked for providing inspiring information how their companies relate to it. Aspects discussed during presentations and the following round table discussion ranged from individual optimization of footwear to inclusiveness of populations not having been under the lens of science and research already for long.

The Banquet and Awards

The closing banquet saw the presentation of six research prizes.  Congratulations to all winners and also to recipients of the new student travel grants, which were awarded to …

The prizes went to:

Methodology Award presented by Brooks

Dimitri Ferre Sentis – Grip mechanisms and mechanical characterization of outsole materials: towards shoe slip resistance prediction

Basic Research Award presented by NewBalance

Kim Hebert-Losier – Biomechanics and perceptions of recreational runners wearing novel shoes

Young Investigator Award presented by Adidas

Lennert Van der Meulen – Duty factor and stride frequency as (potential) load magnitude determinants of slow, female runners’ habitual running pattern

Applied Research Award presented by Mizuno

Zach Barrons – The influence of midsole thickness on running biomechanics and performance in female and male runners, does size matter?

Innovation Award presented by Under Armour

Colin Firminger – Cycling cleat positioning affects Achilles tendon strain, but at what cost?

Women in Science Award presented by Lululemon Joanna Reeves – Recognizing the specific footwear needs of older females playing court sports

Nike Award in Footwear Science

The night also saw the presentation of the 2023 Nike Award for Athletic Footwear Research. This year’s topic was celebrating inclusivity in footwear science: Solve for someone new. Following the special Nike Award session, which saw great presentations from the three finalists, which included: Maddison Kirk (Are netball players satisfied with their shoes?) and Emily Karolidis (Changes in knee mechanics with systemic fatigue and soccer cleat stud shape appear to differ by sex), the Nike award was presented to Reyna Crawford for her study on The influence of lateral wedged insoles on performance and ankle joint biomechanics of lateral movements. Congratulations to all finalists and to the award winner Reyna!

The evening programme included the presentation of the FBG Career Excellence Award to Professor Joseph Hamill.  This award, established in 2019 is to recognise outstanding lifetime contributions to footwear science.  Dr Brent Edwards, one of Joe’s mentees’ introducing Professor Hamill highlighted the extensive career achievements of Joe which includes over 500 research papers, 21 books chapters as well as his years of service within the ISB and the Footwear Biomechanics Group. However, perhaps one of his top achievements is the many students (over 60 PhD/MS) from around the world who he has mentored, with many of them providing anecdotes of the influence Joe has had on their career.

Next Conference

It is with great excitement that the Footwear Biomechanics Group officially announces the 17th Biennial Footwear Biomechanics Symposium will take place in Oslo, Norway from July 23rd to July 25th 2025 at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. The conference will be organized by Dr. Hannah Rice and Dr. Toni Arndt. More details will follow in the coming months but please save the date.