Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Human Performance


Exercise Science (MS)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Sarah Breen


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of hiking shoes and hiking boots on the biomechanical responses to a stepping task and physiological responses to an inclined walking task. Participants (n = 16) performed six two minute stepping trials at a stepping rate of 72 bpm; three trials in hiking boots and three trials in hiking shoes. Following the stepping task, participants (n = 19) walked at 3.0 mph and 10% grade for five minutes in hiking shoes and hiking boots. Lower limb joint angles and moments were calculated using Visual 3D. Physiological data was averaged over the last three minutes of the stepping task to determine mean variables during steady state exercise. Results showed that during the lowering phase of the stepping cycle, ankle ROM and ankle and knee moments were significantly greater in hiking shoes than hiking boots, indicating that no compensatory mechanisms of the knee and hip were implemented due to restricted ankle ROM. Additionally, VO2 and VE were significantly greater in the hiking shoe condition during the inclined walking task. While these variables are statistically significant, they may not be practically significant in an actual hiking scenario, as the magnitudes of differences observed in variables were minimal. Use of either shoe or boot may not result in an increased risk of injury, therefore leaving the choice of footwear up to the hiker’s personal preference.

Access Type

Open Access

Included in

Biomechanics Commons