Purpose: To examine the effects of different torsional flexibilities of shoes on gait and stability in children who are newly walking.
Methods: Twenty-five children walking 5 months or less were evaluated barefoot and in 4 shoes with different torsional flexibilities (UltraFlex, MidFlex, LowFlex, and Stiff). Gait pattern was assessed using GaitMatII. Stability was determined by the number of stumbles/falls during functional tasks.
Results: Stance time was shorter barefoot compared with all shoe conditions (P = .000). Stance time was shorter in UltraFlex than in LowFlex (P = .000). Step width was wider in UltraFlex than in MidFlex and LowFlex (P = .028). Velocity, step length, and the number of stumbles/falls did not differ significantly across shoe conditions. Children walking for 2 months or less had significantly more stumbles and falls than children walking more than 2 months (P = .003).
Conclusions: Stance time and step width differ across shoe conditions. Stability does not differ across shoe conditions.