The Impact of Footwear on Occupational Task Performance and Musculoskeletal Injury Risk: A Scoping Review to Inform Tactical Footwear

Robin Orr, Danny Maupin, Robert Palmer, Elisa F D Canetti, Vini Simas, Ben Schram

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of this scoping review was to investigate the impact of footwear on worker physical task performance and injury risk. The review was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews protocol and registered in the Open Science Framework. Key search terms were entered into five academic databases. Following a dedicated screening process and critical appraisal, data from the final articles informing this review were extracted, tabulated, and synthesised. Of 19,614 identified articles, 50 articles informed this review. Representing 16 countries, the most common populations investigated were military and firefighter populations, but a wide range of general occupations (e.g., shipping, mining, hairdressing, and healthcare workers) were represented. Footwear types included work safety boots/shoes (e.g., industrial, gumboots, steel capped, etc.), military and firefighter boots, sports shoes (trainers, tennis, basketball, etc.) and various other types (e.g., sandals, etc.). Occupational footwear was found to impact gait and angular velocities, joint ranges of motion, posture and balance, physiological measures (like aerobic capacity, heart rates, temperatures, etc.), muscle activity, and selected occupational tasks. Occupational footwear associated with injuries included boots, conventional running shoes, shoes with inserts, harder/stiffer outsoles or thin soles, and shoes with low comfort scores-although the findings were mixed. Occupational footwear was also linked to potentially causing injuries directly (e.g., musculoskeletal injuries) as well as leading to mechanisms associated with causing injuries (like tripping and slipping).

Original languageEnglish
Article number10703
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2022


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