OBJECTIVE: A comparison of plantar pressure distribution of hemiparetic patients with a control group was performed to determine quantitative, objective and reproducible criteria for better assessment of hemiparetic gait. DESIGN: This empirical, descriptive study used a clinical sample of 18 hemiparetic patients and compared the data to previously published data from 111 healthy persons. BACKGROUND: Several biomechanical methods have been used in the past to evaluate and classify hemiplegic gait, for example kinetic, cinematographic, or electromyographic systems, but plantar pressure distribution measurement has not been studied. METHODS: Peak pressures were determined under the feet of 18 hemiparetic patients during stance phase using a capacitive pressure distribution platform (EMED-F01 system, Novel GmbH). RESULTS: Hemiparetic patients showed considerably lower peak pressures under all anatomical structures and an unexpected medial load shift in the forefoot. CONCLUSIONS: The grade of spasticity seems to be the most important cause for expression of the medial load shift. Individual pressure distribution gait analysis, as shown in an example, may improve assessment and therapy of hemiparetic patients. RELEVANCE: Plantar pressure distribution data from hemiparetic patients can be used for an analysis of lower extremity dysfunctions. This method may also be employed to assess objectively the success of drug treatment and/or other rehabilitation processes. In particular, individual plantar pressure data from patients will provide additional clinical information for rehabilitation physicians, therapists, and engineers.