Case Report

By Dr. Bill Misner
Corresponding Author Dr. Bill Misner
American Holistic College of Nutrition PhD Emeritus/Retired, 1140 West Glass Avenue, Spokane, Wa. 99205 USA - United States of America 99205
Submitting Author Dr. Bill Misner

Exercise, Performance Running, Maximum Heart Rate, Running Barefoot, Running Shod [shoes]

Misner B. How Running Barefoot (Xero Shoes) and Running Shod (Montrail Shoes) Effects Percent of Maximum Heart rate - A Case Report. WebmedCentral SPORTS MEDICINE 2013;4(3):WMC004123
doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2013.004123

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Submitted on: 10 Mar 2013 03:01:58 AM GMT
Published on: 11 Mar 2013 01:10:57 PM GMT


Heart Rate [HR] is a factor effecting running performance. The type of a running shoe may enhance or inhibit performance depending upon the type of contact surface, the weight of the shoe, or the form employed. There are arguments for and against running barefoot as compared to ShodShoe in a lightweight running shoe. The trend observed in this case study raises a question as to whether application in greater populations has merit. This single subject case study shows a 4-8% advantage running at 70-89% maximum heart rate in lightweight running shoes. However, single subject case study is numerically limited requiring more research on subjects representing all genders, ages, and fitness levels to determine if there are any maximal heart rate differences between running barefoot in minimalist shoes and lightweight racing shoes.


Three shoes [pictures below] were selected: Two barefoot models[Xero 4mm, Xero 6mm] and a non-barefoot, lightweight shoe {Montrail Rogue Racer]. A fit 73-year male subject ran at three different speeds [5.2-mph, 7.0-mph, and 9.0-mph] on a treadmill, alternating one of three shoes; two were barefoot models [Xero 4-mm, Xero 6-mm]; the other was a non-barefoot model, a Montrail Rogue Racer shoe. A protocol consisting of 9-separate tests was repeated every 48-hours for three test days. The subject was required to warm-up jogging for 10-minutes prior to the first of 3-tests for 5-minutes at 5.2-mph in each shoe. The subject took a 5-minute rest break in between each shoe test. This protocol was repeated again for 2-minutes at 7.0-mph, and for 1-minute at 9.0-mph to determine this subject’s heart rate response to running each speed in each model. Heart rates were recorded using a wrist cuff blood-pressure monitor after each running test alternating each shoe model. The Percents of this subject’s Maximum Heart Rate were calculated [1, 2] and recorded after each test [the order of each shoe was alternated and is listed in brackets] shown below in Table 1.Data and Figure 1.Shoe Effects Percents Maximum Heart Rate.


Research states that running economy is higher barefoot than running in shoes. By example, Warne & Warrington (3) reported that running barefoot significantly improves running economy when compared with ShodShoe running. Also, Hanson et al., (4) reported that at 70% of VO2 max pace barefoot running is more economical, and that running requires a significantly higher heart rate and VO2 value. However, this single subject case study, reports the opposite, that running economy based on percent of maximum heart rates significantly favored the ShodShoe lightweight Montrail running shoe, not in either of the barefoot models (Xero 4mm and Xero 6mm). This contradicting case study simply raises a critical question: Is running economy in lightweight shoes superior to barefoot running in larger populations in male and female runners of all ages?


This subject ran -8% and -4% lower percent maximum heart rate average at 7.0-mph and 9.0-mph running consistently in lightweight Montrail shoes compared to both barefoot models [Xero 4mm, Xero 6mm].  This single subject’s running at above 70% maximum heart rate appear to have benefited by running in lightweight Montrail shoes, not from either barefoot models [Xero 4mm, Xero 6mm].


1.The American College of Sports Medicine states the following formula for determining Maximum Heart Rate formula is: 220 – Age =  (MHR). The Heart Rate Debate Jan 13, 2012, Linda Melone, ACSM Certified Personal TrainerSM.
2.Fitness > Calculators > Target Heart Rate Calculator was used to determine the percents of 100% maximum heart rate for a 73-year subject was 220-73 = 147-bpm.
3. Warne JP, Warrington GD. Four-week habituation to simulated barefoot running improves running economy when compared with shod running. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Dec 17. doi: 10.1111/sms.12032. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23252417.
4. Hanson NJ, Berg K, Deka P, Meendering JR, Ryan C. Oxygen cost of running barefoot vs. running shod. Int J Sports Med. 2011 Jun;32(6):401-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1265203. Epub 2011 Apr 6. PubMed PMID: 21472628.

Source(s) of Funding

The author bore all costs for collecting the data in this single subject case report. Furthermore the author declares appreciation to (1) Steve Sashen, CEO Xero Shoes, Feel The World, Inc., 5470 Conestoga Ct., Boulder, CO 80301, 1-800-499-8880, and, (2) Byron Pittam, Montrail Shoes/Mountain Hardwear Inc.1414 Harbour Way S #1005, Richmond, CA 94804, (510) 558-3000 for their generous contribution of Xero Shoes and Montrail Rogue Racer Shoes for this case study.

Competing Interests

The author was also the subject in this case study and acknowledges all the data collected was associated with his heart rate value, and, may or may not, reflect consistent trends in whole runner populations. The author reports no competing interests and received no financial remuneration from either shoe company.


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3 reviews posted so far

Thank you for your review of this single-subject case report. If you were doing a single subject case report...what age, what gender, what level of fitness, what speeds, and what shoes/shod would you ... View more
Responded by Dr. Bill Misner on 03 Apr 2013 11:28:29 PM GMT

Interesting Case Study
Posted by Prof. Gowrishankar Ramadurai on 21 Mar 2013 11:09:56 AM GMT

Dear Professor Gowrishankar Ramadurai, I discovered your review to be very helpful in expanding this Case Report to larger numbers of runners all ages and both male and female. Thank you for your exp... View more
Responded by Dr. Bill Misner on 23 Mar 2013 04:39:37 PM GMT

Running Economy vs Running Efficiency
Posted by Anonymous Reviewer on 14 Mar 2013 11:54:01 AM GMT

Professor Antonio Ventín, Thank you for completing a review of this Case Report. Please note I found your comments completely competent. Your interest in this finding expanded the views of several ... View more
Responded by Dr. Bill Misner on 23 Mar 2013 04:36:49 PM GMT

2 comments posted so far

Barefoot? Posted by Mr. Ken B Saxton on 29 Mar 2013 02:42:22 PM GMT

Dear Mr. Saxton, I completely agree with your comments. Oh...that hindsight would have placed you as the subject to run barefooted, with sandals, with shoes at each of the 3-speeds then taken heart r... View more
Responded by Dr. Bill Misner on 29 Mar 2013 04:19:58 PM GMT

Affect/Effect Posted by Mr. Brandon Cooper on 22 May 2013 08:02:28 PM GMT

Dear Mr. Cooper, "Effect" is usually a noun, [but not always, according to the Chicago Manual of Style] and is defined as "outcome or result." Merriam-Webster states, Effect is "Something that inevita... View more
Responded by Dr. Bill Misner on 23 May 2013 09:38:22 PM GMT

Please use this functionality to flag objectionable, inappropriate, inaccurate, and offensive content to WebmedCentral Team and the authors.


Author Comments
7 comments posted so far

Table 1. Author's reminder. Posted by Dr. Bill Misner on 07 Apr 2013 04:33:29 PM GMT

Reviewers request Posted by Dr. Bill Misner on 19 Mar 2013 03:05:08 AM GMT

Excellent review with precise comments Posted by Dr. Bill Misner on 14 Mar 2013 09:29:33 PM GMT

Case Report is a Single Finding Posted by Dr. Bill Misner on 12 Mar 2013 08:36:32 PM GMT


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