Question Sheet: Running with Sneaker Science


Before reading:

  1. When you decide to buy new sneakers, what are the most important features you look for?
  2. Why are basketball sneakers usually made of leather?
  3. What would you do to prepare to run a marathon?

During reading:

  1. How is a wind tunnel a useful tool for scientists studying the performance of a sneaker?
  2. Why can jogging, or even walking, with the wrong kind of shoes contribute to a knee injury?
  3. How are computers useful in the process of designing new sneakers?
  4. What is the most crucial quality to look for if you need a good pair of sneakers to run the 100-meter dash? How do those sneakers compare with those needed to play tennis?
  5. Give three reasons why sneaker science has become a significant field of research.
  6. Why does Seth Kinley think style should not be your first priority when choosing what to wear on your feet?

After reading:

  1. What are some major differences between the footwear needs of a woman and of a man?
  2. If you wanted to buy your grandmother a pair of shoes for her birthday, what kind would you get her? Why?
  3. Scientists use treadmills and other types of equipment to study and compare sneakers. If you were a scientist and wanted to study the performance of several different automobiles, what kinds of equipment would you need in your laboratory?
  4. Along with shoes, what clothing is important for a runner’s performance? What issues should be taken into account when designing shirts and pants for runners?


  1. If you were writing this article about sneakers, what kind of research would you do? Who else might you interview?
  2. Think of a sport you like to play. What qualities do you think are important for succeeding in that sport?
  3. What kinds of experiments can you develop to test the design of a pair of running shoes?
  4. Standard shoe sizes are not always accurate or complete enough to make sure a shoe fits properly. Make a list of variables that need to be taken into account to create a more precise shoe measurement.


  1. If you were to run a 5-mile race in 45 minutes, what would your average speed be in miles per hour?
  2. Emily ran the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 40 minutes. What was her average speed?