Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

William Keat




footwear, sizing, foot, fit, data systems


There are a variety of fit systems available in the outdoor footwear industry. Each of these fit systems tightens the shoe around the wearer’s foot in a different way. In this project an apparatus was developed to quantify perpendicular forces between the foot and a shoe. This apparatus utilized piezoresistive sensors that, when combined with an excitation voltage and an inverting operational amplifier, pass a voltage that is proportional to the force applied to the sensing area. A significant section of this project was dedicated to troubleshoot this apparatus in order to produce nearly linear calibration curves. The apparatus was then used to collect data on the force distribution between four shoes featuring unique fit systems. The shoes were a North Face Ultra 104 GTX XCR laced in a wide set of eyelets, a Treksta Sidewinder, a North Face Ultra 104 GTX XCR laced in a narrow set of eyelets, and a Merrell light hiking shoe. Nine sets of data were collected with these shoes in four conditions: the foot outside of the shoe, the foot inside the shoe with the fit system fully loosened, the foot inside the shoe with the laces tightened only by the loose ends, and finally the foot inside the shoe with the fit system fully tightened. The data collected was then analyzed to draw conclusions on the effects each fit system had on the force distribution between the foot and the shoe. Specifically, it was found that the North Face shoe laced in the narrow set of eyelets provided the most uniform distribution of force between the foot and the shoe when fully tightened. The data also verified the performance of the low friction eyelets and lace featured on the Treksta. The fit system on the Treksta directly incorporates the heel of the shoe, but this was found to have no effect on the pressure distribution on the heel of the foot. The data also demonstrated that the fit system of the Merrell focuses the force on applied to the foot on the tongue area.