April 2022


The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of heel-to-toe drop (heel drop) modifications of a hiking shoe on plantar pressure distribution and perceived comfort before and after walking. Data of 3 shoe conditions with a low (11 mm), medium (16 mm), and high (21 mm) heel drop were obtained of 12 healthy male participants (mean age: 23.8 ± 2.8 yrs.) before (pre-test) and after a 45-minute walk in a park (post-test). Two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied to investigate differences between the 3 shoe types at the 2 time points and over time. Post-hoc analyses showed few significant differences in pressure and comfort parameters between shoe conditions at the 2 time points.

Over time, however, several significant changes in comfort measures and pressure distribution were observed depending on the shoe condition. Most of the plantar pressure changes were seen in the hiking shoe with the medium heel drop showing significantly increased pressures values in the toe and forefoot area after the walk. Comfort measures deteriorated from the pre- to the post-test, in particular for the hiking shoe with the high heel drop. The results of the study showed that comfort and pressure parameters altered from walking for 45 minutes depending on the shoe condition and that the modification of the heel drop affected pressure parameters and comfort parameters in different ways. These findings may have implications for future considerations of values for the heel drop in hiking shoes.

Source: John S, Eisenmann M, Witte K. Plantar pressure distribution and perceived comfort in hiking boots with different heel-to-toe drops before and after 45 minutes of walking. Footwear Sci. 2021. DOI: 10.1080/19424280.2021.1991007.

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