The International Society of Biomechanics Footwear Biomechanics Group (FBG) held their 11th biennial Footwear Biomechanics Symposium (FBS) in conjunction with the ISB Congress in Natal, Brazil from the 31 July – 2 August 2013. The symposium was organized by a group chaired by the FBG Chairperson Stefan Grau with help from Toni Arndt from Stockholm and Günther Schlee from Chemnitz. Günther’s native Portuguese helped considerably in organizing accommodation and the social program in Brazil. The FBS was held in the Rifoles Hotel with a fantastic location directly on a wonderful beach, where delegates were seen playing football, walking, swimming, surfing or just lying in deckchairs enjoying local beverages.
Despite its distant location relative to Australia, Europe and North America, the FBS attracted a very good attendance of 155 participants. Approximately 100 abstract submissions were received, which led to 60 original oral papers and 33 posters at the conference. There were three full days of scientific program. Two keynote lecturers were invited: Peter Cavanagh presented “Tibial acceleration: What does it tell us about footwear and injury risk?” and Kris D’Aout presented “The biomechanics of human locomotion: evolving barefoot”. There were two invited sessions, one on soccer shoes and one on the ankle joint hosted by the International Foot & Ankle Biomechanics (iFAB) group. A very popular invited tutorial was included for the first time with Ned Frederick discussing the topic of “Quantifying the physical and functional characteristics of footwear”. The single session lecture theatre was full for nearly every single presentation. The two high quality poster presentations were preceded by two-minute oral presentations.
The sponsorship strength of the FBG was evident with a total of eight prizes presented. Of course the FBG would like to take this opportunity to extend special thanks to all of its sponsors – Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Busan Footwear Center, LiNing, Mizuno, Nike and RSScan. During the FBG Business Meeting at the conclusion of the symposium, new Operating Codes and a new Constitution were presented and accepted by the members. The Constitution was also accepted by the ISB Executive Council at their subsequent meeting. Hopefully, these new steering documents will assist in making the operation of the FBG more transparent, efficient and even more dynamic in future.
A traditional highlight of the FBS is its incredible social network, which has made this meeting a highlight in many footwear biomechanists’ congress calendar. The food, drinks and discussions during the dinners by the pool will be remembered by many and will hopefully lead to fruitful scientific collaboration in the upcoming years. The ISB FBG is becoming more and more active even outside its own biennial symposium and in 2014 will host scientific sessions both at the iFAB meeting in Busan, Korea and at the World Congress of Biomechanics in Boston, USA.