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Footwear comfort: a systematic search and narrative synthesis of the literature

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-08, 23:49 authored by Hylton MenzHylton Menz, Daniel BonannoDaniel Bonanno
Objective: To provide a narrative synthesis of the research literature pertaining to footwear comfort, including definitions, measurement scales, footwear design features, and physiological and psychological factors. Methods: A systematic search was conducted which yielded 101 manuscripts. The most relevant manuscripts were selected based on the predetermined subheadings of the review (definitions, measurement scales, footwear design features, and physiological and psychological factors). A narrative synthesis of the findings of the included studies was undertaken. Results: The available evidence is highly fragmented and incorporates a wide range of study designs, participants, and assessment approaches, making it challenging to draw strong conclusions or implications for clinical practice. However, it can be broadly concluded that (i) simple visual analog scales may provide a reliable overall assessment of comfort, (ii) well-fitted, lightweight shoes with soft midsoles and curved rocker-soles are generally perceived to be most comfortable, and (iii) the influence of sole flexibility, shoe microclimate and insoles is less clear and likely to be more specific to the population, setting and task being performed. Conclusion: Footwear comfort is a complex and multifaceted concept that is influenced not only by structural and functional aspects of shoe design, but also task requirements and anatomical and physiological differences between individuals. Further research is required to delineate the contribution of specific shoe features more clearly, and to better understand the interaction between footwear features and individual physiological attributes.


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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research



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© The Author(s). 2021 This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

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