BACKGROUND: Uncomfortable shoes have been attributed to poor fit and the cause of foot pathologies. Assessing and evaluating comfort and fit have proven challenging due to the subjective nature. The aim of this paper is to investigate the relationship between footwear characteristics and perceived comfort.
METHODS: Twenty-seven females assessed three different styles of ballet pump shoe for comfort using a comfort scale whilst walking along a 20 m walkway. The physical characteristics of the shoes and the progression of centre of pressure during walking were assessed.
RESULTS: There were significant physical differences between each style, square shoe being the shortest, widest and stiffest and round shoe having the least volume at the toe box. Centre of pressure progression angle was centralised to the longitudinal axis of the foot when wearing each of the three shoes compared to barefoot. Length, width and cantilever bending stiffness had no impact on perceived comfort.
CONCLUSION: Wearing snug fitting flexible soled round ballet flat pump is perceived to be the most comfortable of the shoe shapes tested producing a faster more efficient gait. Further investigations are required to assess impact/fit and upper material on perceived comfort to aid consumers with painful feet in purchasing shoes.
- Biomechanical Phenomena
- Equipment Design
- Young Adult
- Journal Article