Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Quesada, Peter M.


Athletic shoes; Foot--Wounds and injuries--Prevention


The purpose of this investigation was to determine if cycling shoes made with stiff material cause an increase in peak plantar stress over shoes with less stiff material. Shoe stiffness measurements were collected under controlled conditions and in two different configurations using a dynamic hydraulic tensile testing machine. Measurements of plantar stress were taken while subjects pedaled in a seated position at a controlled power output of 400 Watts. Capacitive-based sensor insoles were placed in the shoes to measure the peak stress under each foot during pedaling. The shoes made with carbon fiber produced peak plantar stresses 18% higher than those of a more traditional plastic design (121.2 kPa vs. 103.0 kPa, p-value = 0.005). Carbon fiber shoes presented stiffness values 42% and 550% higher than plastic shoes in longitudinal bending and three-point bending, respectively.