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Pumped to Jump

The benefit of athletic shoes

(HealthDayNews) -- Athletic shoes can make a real difference. The research comes from The University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, as reported in Medical Science in Sports and Exercise.

Lots of energy in running and jumping is lost at the metatarsophalangeal joint, which is the point where the big toe meets the rest of the foot. So sneaker-makers thought if they made soles stiffer with carbon fiber plates, there wouldn't be the same energy loss, and people could run and jump better.

It turns out they were right. The carbon fiber plates really did reduce the amount of energy lost during jumping exercises. When 25 people tested the stiff soles, their jumps really did go higher -- by about half an inch.

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