Impact of shoe hardness of children's walking and running

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned ReportResearch


Through testing young children’s walking and running, we found out information
on how different young children’s walking and running is compared to older
children and adults. Through testing these children, we all found out how
different shoes impact some features of walking and running.

We recruited 47 typically developing children aged between two to four years.
These children then walked and ran over a measurement system called the
GAITRite®. This mat recorded the timing and distance features of the children’s
walking and running in a sandal, runner and boot with soft (Shore A 48-
53) and hard (Shore A 60-65) soles.

There were a number of key differences in the difference parts of walking and
running when we compared barefoot to walking and running in the different
footwear styles. There were also a number of differences between the footwear
when compared to bare foot walking but these were not seen between the same
footwear with different sole hardness. Some shoes were observed to increase
stumbles when first worn and this may be related to the specific features of the
shoe however, the sole hardness may also play a part in this.

There were vast variations between the EMG output of muscle activity between
the children and footwear. Some children had a vast increase in muscle activity
in hard soled shoes, some decreased and some remained the same.
The perception of podiatrists and parents that a harder sole shoe may result in
gait changes was not found in this research. However, comfort was not taken into
consideration, neither was in shoe pressure.

The some of the footwear changed some parameters of walking and
running but did not change all the gait features. Each type of footwear did make
some different changes. While these results did not find many differences
between the hard and soft soled footwear, there are a number of interesting
findings that may impact how the industry promotes and designs footwear for
young children.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne Victoria
PublisherMonash University
Commissioning bodyBobux International Pty Ltd
Number of pages47
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2017


  • paediatric
  • footwear

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