Reliability and validity of running cadence and stance time derived from instrumented wireless earbuds

Anouk Nijs*, Peter J. Beek, Melvyn Roerdink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Instrumented earbuds equipped with accelerometers were developed in response to limitations of currently used running wearables regarding sensor location and feedback delivery. The aim of this study was to assess test–retest reliability, face validity and concurrent validity for cadence and stance time in running. Participants wore an instrumented earbud (new method) while running on a treadmill with embedded force-plates (well-established method). They ran at a range of running speeds and performed several instructed head movements while running at a comfortable speed. Cadence and stance time were derived from raw earbud and force-plate data and compared within and between both methods using t-tests, ICC and Bland–Altman analysis. Test–retest reliability was good-to-excellent for both methods. Face validity was demonstrated for both methods, with cadence and stance time varying with speed in to-be-expected directions. Between-methods agreement for cadence was excellent for all speeds and instructed head movements. For stance time, agreement was good-to-excellent for all conditions, except while running at 13 km/h and shaking the head. Overall, the measurement of cadence and stance time using an accelerometer embedded in a wireless earbud showed good test–retest reliability, face validity and concurrent validity, indicating that instrumented earbuds may provide a promising alternative to currently used wearable systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7995
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: Research was funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences, grant number P16–28 Project 3.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Accelerometer
  • Agreement
  • Cadence
  • Stance time


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