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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 2017, Article ID 2638908, 7 pages
Research Article

Full Step Cycle Kinematic and Kinetic Comparison of Barefoot Walking and a Traditional Shoe Walking in Healthy Youth: Insights for Barefoot Technology

1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The 1st Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China
2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Mechanical Engineering, Motion Analysis & Motor Performance Laboratory, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
3Department of Neurology, The Seventh Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen 518107, China
4CDR, MC USN, Department of Radiology, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, VA 23708, USA
5Department of Kinesiology, California State University East Bay, Hayward, CA 94542, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Bradford C. Bennett; ude.yabtsaeusc@ttenneb.drofdarb and Shawn D. Russell; ude.ainigriv@n2rds

Received 19 May 2017; Revised 15 August 2017; Accepted 11 September 2017; Published 7 November 2017

Academic Editor: Estefanía Peña

Copyright © 2017 Yi Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Barefoot technology shoes are becoming increasingly popular, yet modifications are still needed. The present study aims to gain valuable insights by comparing barefoot walking to neutral shoe walking in a healthy youth population. Methods. 28 healthy university students (22 females and 6 males) were recruited to walk on a 10-meter walkway both barefoot and in neutral running shoes at their comfortable walking speed. Full step cycle kinematic and kinetic data were collected using an 8-camera motion capture system. Results. In the early stance phase, the knee extension moment (MK1), the first peak absorbed joint power at the knee joint (PK1), and the flexion angle of knee/dorsiflexion angle of the ankle were significantly reduced when walking in neutral running shoes. However, in the late stance, barefoot walking resulted in decreased hip joint flexion moment (MH2), second peak extension knee moment (MK3), hip flexors absorbed power (PH2), hip flexors generated power (PH3), second peak absorbed power by knee flexors (PK2), and second peak anterior-posterior component of joint force at the hip (APFH2), knee (APFK2), and ankle (APFA2). Conclusions. These results indicate that it should be cautious to discard conventional elements from future running shoe designs and rush to embrace the barefoot technology fashion.