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DOR Podcast #137: The Science of Running Footwear Biomechanics: Insights from Brooks' Biomechanists

On this episode of the Doctors of Running Podcast, Matt is joined by two phenomenal guests from Brooks, Jennifer Sumner and Evan Day, biomechanists on the Brooks' Run Research Team. They give us an inside look at how Brooks' unique approach to biomechanical testing and research in shoe development. They help us tackle big questions like "what does it mean to be a runner?" and "how do we tell the difference between 'good' and 'bad' running mechanics?" They even dive into the link between mental health and wellness and how we run, and how that might influence our shoe choices.

Listen to This Week's Podcast Here!

Direct Links: Apple | Spotify | Anchor



This week’s episode of the Doctors of Running Podcast is sponsored by Running Warehouse. As runners, we love the outdoors and the positive impact it can have on our health and on the well-being of future generations. This Earth Day, celebrate the sustainable initiatives taken by brands to create high-quality eco-friendly gear.

Head on over to Running Warehouse to check out all the sustainable styles.
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About the Guests

Jennifer Sumner is the Director of the Run Research Team at Brooks. Her passion for injury prevention started with a two-year sports medicine program in high school. From here she went on to study Biomedical Engineering and human movement for topics ranging from ergonomics to tissue engineering and finally into running injury prevention throughout her academic career. She found her passion for applied research in the product space as a research technician for Biomechanigg Inc, evaluating the influence of everything from hockey skates to road bicycles on human movement and performance. She entered the industry as a Research Scientist with New Balance before moving to Brooks, where has been for the last six years. The Brooks passion to build for all who run using science-based insights is what will keep Jennifer with the brand for years to come. 

Evan Day is a Manager on the Run Research Team at Brooks overlooking biomechanical testing and research related to Inline Product (<2 years to market) and advancement of Run Signature. He has been an avid runner since his first season of middle school cross country, and became interested in the interaction between the body and footwear after suffering a tibial stress fracture in high school. From there he studied Kinesiology at Iowa State University, where he also did his Master’s in Biomechanics, focused on running injuries. He then continued on to complete his PhD at the University of Oregon in the Bowerman Sports Science Clinic focusing on running performance. He entered the industry working on basketball footwear at adidas, before transitioning to Brooks. Living the opportunity to spend every day obsessing over the granular details of footwear and running biomechanics is a dream come true for him.


0:00 - Intro 
9:02 - What does it mean to be running footwear biomechanist? 
19:44 - How does Brooks define a "runner"? 
26:18 - What is Run Signature? 
36:34 - How to differentiate between good and problematic running mechanics 
44:16 - How does Brooks categorize runners & their mechanics? 
50:18 - The link between a runner's psychology, wellness, and biomechanics 
1:03:16 - Integrating this link between mental health and mechanics into footwear design  1:09:55 - What are the next big questions Brooks is trying to address in running?
  1:17:05 - Wrap-up

Video of the Week: Overtraining

Recent Episodes

#136: Science of Running Injuries and Training | Link
(Andrea Myers shares research and experience on training)

#135: Mailbag! Super Shoes, Comparisons, and What Shoe are WE? |
(We dive into our monthly mailbag to answer your questions)

#134: Do I Need a Gait Analysis? (feat. Doug Adams) |
(We speak with running gait analysis specialist and Tinman Elite PT Doug Adams)

#133: Hoka Rocket X 2 and New Balance SC Elite v3 |
(We review two new super shoes in the market and offer some comarpisons)

Recently at Doctors of Running

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Nike Pegasus 40

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