This study investigates gender and walking speed (80%, 100%, 120% and 140% of preferred walking speed (PWS)) effects on plantar pressure parameters. In total, 30 healthy males and females, aged between 20 to 60 years, participated in this study. A plantar pressure measurement device was used to measure the peak pressure, peak force and contact area in six plantar zones. The results indicate that males had higher peak pressure and peak force in the medial toe and forefoot, as well as greater contact area in the central forefoot and heel areas. Females had greater contact area in the midfoot. Increased walking speed caused a significant increase in most of the response measures and the increase became more obvious when the speed was higher than 120% PWS. Although there was no significant interaction between gender and PWS, some gender differences were found.
Practitioner summary: Using percentage PWS provides a new perspective to discuss the effects of gender and walking speed on plantar pressure distribution. This study's findings can be very useful for footwear and orthotics design for different genders.