The effect of frictional coefficients and sock material on plantar surface shear stress measurement

Shaye M. Tiell, S. Cyrus Rezvanifar, Brian L. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


At present, there are no viable systems that can acquire in-shoe measurement of distributed shear forces. Foot-shoe interactions are such that skin shear is a notoriously difficult quantity to measure under the best of conditions. This is further complicated by the presence of forces normal to the skin surface that are large compared to the shear forces, which often results in crosstalk between pressure and shear signals. The present study used multibody dynamic simulations to investigate the combined effects of (i) coefficient of friction (COF) at skin-sock and sock-sensor interfaces, as well as (ii) sock stiffness on the accuracy of measured shear against the skin. These factors were systematically altered within a wide range (COF: 0.04, 0.34, 0.54, and 0.9; sock stiffness: 100, 250, 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000 N/m) to simulate a total of 96 scenarios. The correlation between the shear at the skin and at the sensor was used to compare each set of conditions. The results indicated that a high COF at the sock-sensor interface and a low sock stiffness would individually result in a significantly higher accuracy of shear measurements (p < 0.001). A low COF at the skin-sock interface was observed to reduce the occurred shear against the skin up to a factor of five, with very minimal effect on the accuracy of shear measurements (p = 0.98). These findings allow researchers to understand the potential effects of (i) sock stiffness, and (ii) coefficients of friction, on skin shear, and potentially correct for the effects of interface materials when trying to determine shear at the skin-sock interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110682
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Early online dateAug 8 2021
StatePublished - Oct 11 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge Jessi Martin who assisted with collecting experimental data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Computational model
  • Interface mechanics
  • Plantar surface
  • Skin shear
  • Sock stiffness


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