The influence of footwear on foot motion during walking and running

  • Morio Cedric
  • Lake Mark J.
  • Guéguen Nils
  • Rao Guillaume
  • Baly Laurent

  • Footwear
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Foot torsion
  • Forefoot width


There are evidences to suggest that wearing footwear constrains the natural barefoot motion during locomotion. Unlike prior studies that deduced foot motions from shoe sole displacement parameters, the aim of this study was to examine the effect of footwear motion on forefoot to rearfoot relative motion during walking and running. The use of a multi-segment foot model allowed accurate both shoe sole and foot motions (barefoot and shod) to be quantified. Two pairs of identical sandals with different midsole hardness were used. Ten healthy male subjects walked and ran in each of the shod condition. The results showed that for barefoot locomotion there was more eversion of the forefoot and it occurred faster than for shod locomotion. In this later condition, the range of eversion was reduced by 20% and the rate of eversion in late stance by 60% in comparison to the barefoot condition. The sole constrained both the torsional (eversion/inversion) and adduction range of motion of the foot. Interestingly, during the push-off phase of barefoot locomotion the rate and direction of forefoot torsion varied between individuals. However, most subjects displayed a forefoot inversion direction of motion while shod. Therefore, this experiment showed that the shoes not only restricted the natural motion of the barefoot but also appeared to impose a specific foot motion pattern on individuals during the push-off phase. These findings have implications for the matching of footwear design characteristics to individual natural foot function.