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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4316821, 7 pages
Research Article

How Well Can Modern Nonhabitual Barefoot Youth Adapt to Barefoot and Minimalist Barefoot Technology Shoe Walking, in regard to Gait Symmetry

1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The 1st Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China
2Motion Analysis & Motor Performance Laboratory, Department of Orthopedics and Mechanical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
3Department of Neurology, The Seventh Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Shenzhen 518107, China
4Department of Kinesiology, California State University East Bay, Hayward, CA, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to B. Bennett and S. Russell

Received 4 May 2017; Revised 23 July 2017; Accepted 5 September 2017; Published 29 October 2017

Academic Editor: Kwang Gi Kim

Copyright © 2017 Y. 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.


We aim to test how well modern nonhabitual barefoot people can adapt to barefoot and Minimalist Bare Foot Technology (MBFT) shoes, in regard to gait symmetry. 28 healthy university students (22 females/6 males) were recruited to walk on a 10-meter walkway randomly on barefoot, in MBFT shoes, and in neutral running shoes at their comfortable walking speed. Kinetic and kinematic data were collected using an 8-camera motion capture system. Data of joint angles, joint forces, and joint moments were extracted to compute a consecutive symmetry index. Compared to walking in neutral running shoes, walking barefoot led to worse symmetry of the following: ankle joint force in sagittal plane, knee joint moment in transverse plane, and ankle joint moment in frontal plane, while improving the symmetry of joint angle in sagittal plane at ankle joints and global (hip-knee-ankle) level. Walking in MBFT shoes had intermediate gait symmetry performance as compared to walking barefoot/walking in neutral running shoes. We conclude that modern nonhabitual barefoot adults will lose some gait symmetry in joint force/moment if they switch to barefoot walking without fitting in; MBFT shoe might be an ideal compromise for healthy youth as regards gait symmetry in walking.