A new brand of trainer, dubbed the ‘period plimsoll’, has been developed to accommodate the changing shape of a woman’s foot according to her hormonal balance.
By Nick Collins
Published: 7:30AM GMT 11 Feb 2010
The ASICS Kayano 16 trainer, thought to be the world’s first gender-specific running shoe, allows for the changing shape of a woman’s arch during her hormonal cycle.
The Japanese-based company says the shoe can ‘enhance gait efficiency’ and also help accommodate ‘laxer tendons’ and prevent damage to the Achilles heel during a woman’s period.
Oestrogen, a soft tissue relaxant, is understood to lower women’s arch height, which has knock-on effects on other tissues within the foot, destabilising the gait.
The shoe’s design was based on research by a team studying gender differences at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Simon Bartold, the team leader, said: “We have been focusing on the effect of oestrogen, the primary female sex hormone, on tissue compliance, or stretchability.
“The results of this research enabled us to understand how major soft tissues – tendon, ligament, fascia and muscle – adapt under the effect of oestrogen over a 28-day ovulation cycle.”
Dave Dunning, a podiatric biometrics lecturer practitioner at Staffordshire University and member of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, said: “Hormonal changes in women alter the nature of connective tissue so that, for example, the pelvis can open during childbirth.
“There is some evidence to suggest that the foot also changes shape, and injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament have been linked to the menstrual cycle while higher levels of Oestrogen can affect the Achilles tendon.”
Amazing – hormone imbalance has been ignored for years and now a shoe manufacturer is making money off of women’s cycling bodies. Jury is out on this one….If anyone buys a pair I would be interesting in knowing if it works.