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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Industrial Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Shihab Asfour - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Arzu Onar - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Khaled Abdelrahman - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Joseph Signorile - Outside Committee Member


Many studies have investigated the differences in gait patterns with increasing heel height. The purpose of this investigation is to study the differences in gait patterns when wearing stiletto and wedge type high-heeled shoes with different heel designs versus barefoot walking. A Vicon 512 Motion Analysis system and four Kistler force plates were used to record changes in lower-extremity joint kinetics and kinematics in three conventional planes of motion. Additionally, electromyography (EMG) was used to assess differences in the behavior of selected muscles under each condition. Results showed that wearing of the high-heeled shoes increased vertical ground reaction forces during both early and late stance. Ankle dorsiflexion moment was significantly greater in stiletto type high-heeled shoes compared to wedge and barefoot conditions. A reduction in ankle plantar flexor moment and ankle power was observed between high heeled shoe conditions and barefoot walking during late stance. An increase in the integrated EMG values of soleus and gastrocnemius lateralis muscles was noted during stance, while gastrocnemius medialis integrated EMG values decreased in both type of high heeled shoes. Integrated EMG of tibialis anterior was also decreased throughout swing phase due to more plantarflexed foot position. Knee extension moment during late stance increased significantly in both shoe conditions. Additionally, rotational hip moments were significantly different in high-heeled shoes compared to barefoot condition during both early and late stance. Peak plantar/dorsiflexion angles as well as maximum knee flexion angles differed significantly during stance phase of walking between all conditions. Quadriceps activity was increased and prolonged throughout stance and full gait cycle to control knee flexion. There was a trend towards more severe biomechanical changes occurring in stiletto type high-heeled shoes in majority of the dependent variables. Future research should focus on the biomechanics of female gait using different designs of high heeled shoes considering the weight, age, and experience of the wearer. Furthermore, utilizing multi-segmental foot models in order to assess kinematic changes occurring in the entire foot segment and recruitment of triceps surae muscle group will provide more insight to instability of high-heeled gait in different designs of high heeled shoes.


Gait; High-Heeled Shoes; Design;