"I believe that sports manufacturers are using similar, if not the same, equipment for measuring pressure inside the shoes," Abboud said.
Tabulating the results, the researchers reported no significant differences in comfort between the shoes, regardless of their price.
When it came to shock absorption, some shoes performed better than others on different areas of the foot, but no clear pattern emerged. In fact, plantar pressure was actually lower for the cheap-to-moderately priced footwear compared to more high-end gear, although this difference did not reach statistical significance, the researchers said.
"The perception is that if you pay more, you might end up having something more protective within the shoes, but that's something that we just couldn't find," Abboud said. "From what we found, [the difference] seems to be pure advertisement."
Efforts by HealthDay to reach shoe manufacturers Nike and Adidas for comment were unsuccessful.
Podiatrists and footwear experts have their own views on the findings.
"I don't think there's anything shocking in this article -- to find out that maybe some of the high-end running shoes really aren't necessary for the average person that's running," said Dr. James Christina, a podiatrist and director of scientific affairs at the American Podiatric Medical Association. Big-name companies "come out with a new model [of running shoe] every year," he said. "How much of an improvement has really been made?"
But he also pointed out that people who buy sneakers are paying for a shoe's longevity, not just its comfort and protection.
The Scottish study is just a "snapshot of the cushioning ability of that shoe in time," C
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