Footbed shapes for enhanced footwear comfort

Channa P. Witana, Ravindra S. Goonetilleke, Emily Yim Lee Au, Shuping Xiong, Xingfang Lu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Scopus citations


    A shoe wearer's comfort is related to the shape of the footbed of a shoe. Even though the footbed shape is important in footwear design, there exists no methodology to evaluate the existing guidelines used in last making. Thirty-two females participated in an experiment where heel seat length, heel seat inclination and heel height were investigated using the profile assessment device. The dependent variables were plantar pressure and perceived feeling of each participant. The results show that perceived feel is best for wedge angles of 4° and 5° at a heel height of 25 mm, 10° and 11° at a heel height of 50 mm and 16° and 18° at a heel height of 75 mm. A regression model was derived and this explained approximately 80% of the variation of perceived feeling with the contact area, peak plantar pressure and percentage of force acting on the forefoot region. Both heel wedge angle and heel seat length play an important role in the perceived feel of high-heeled shoes. This study, in relation to the load-bearing heel part of a shoe, highlights the importance of good footbed design. The findings can be used to design footwear with enhanced comfort.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)617-628
    Number of pages12
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 2009


    • Comfort
    • Feet
    • Fit
    • Footbed
    • Footwear
    • High-heel
    • Orthotics
    • Plantar shape
    • Pressure
    • Wedge


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