In this work, the effect of walking speed on the energy expenditure in traumatic lower-limb amputees was studied. The oxygen consumption was measured in 10 transfemoral amputees, 9 transtibial amputees and 13 control subjects, while they stood and walked at different speeds from 0.3 m s(-1) to near their maximum sustainable speed. Standing energy expenditure rate was the same in lower-limb amputees and in control subjects (approximately 1.85 W kg(-1)). On the contrary, during walking, the net energy expenditure rate was 30-60% greater in transfemoral amputees and 0-15% greater in transtibial amputees than in control subjects. The maximal sustainable speed was about 1.2 m s(-1) in transfemoral amputees and 1.6 m s(-1) in transtibial amputees, whereas it was above 2 m s(-1) in control subjects. Among these three groups, the cost of transport versus speed presented a U-shaped curve; the minimum cost increased with the level of amputation, and the speed at which this minimum occurred decreased.