As promised, here is our composite analysis of walking. (I recently posted a similar analysis of running here.)


This isn’t just a fancy animation but in fact is a computerized robotic model that is driven from data collected in my human motion laboratory, first at Harvard Medical School and then at the University of Virginia. Supported by the National Institutes of Health, we spent years studying the forces and motions that occur during walking. From this work, we made numerous discoveries about the natural physiology of walking, resulting in a number of research publications, as well as in the birth of OESH.

The data that are fed into this robotic model come from 3D motion measurements of joint and limb segment motions that are taken simultaneously with ground reaction force measurements.

The size of the green arrowed line represents the magnitude and direction of the ground reaction force (which is equal and opposite to what the body imparts to the ground). The red lines are the muscles.

If you study the video, you can appreciate that at the moment of “impact,” when the heel makes its first contact with the ground, the green arrowed line is very small. Only later when the foot is fully planted, and then again, at “push-off,” when most of the weight is on the forefoot, is the force imparted to the ground at its maximum. Similarly, the forces through the joints, muscles, tendons, fascia, and ligaments are at their maximum not at impact but later, when the foot is fully planted. It has long been assumed that the greatest forces occur at impact and thus shoes have been designed around this assumption. OESH are the only shoes designed to respond when forces through joints, muscles, tendons, fascia and ligaments are at their maximum.

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