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Biomechanical and Physiological Study of Firefighter Boots FY12

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.


  • The primary objective of this study is to determine the effect of boot weight and design on firefighters’ biomechanical and physiological responses. 3rd phase testing focused on trips and falls. 27 (13 women, 14 men) firefighters wore four different boot models while stepping over obstacles and climbing a ladder.
Firefighters climbing ladder and over obstacles

Applicable Standards

  • NFPA 1971

Key Partners

  • NFPA


  • Fire departments and firefighters
  • Firefighter boot manufacturers

Project Scope

  • To evaluate the effect of boot weight and design on men and women firefighters’ oxygen consumption, peak flows, joint loading, dynamic balance, and gait characteristics
  • To provide much needed scientific data to the NFPA 1971 standards committee (Protective Ensemble for Structural Fire Fighting) to revise and update standards


  • Q2 Phase 3 manuscript published online in Human Factors
  • Q2 Phase 2 manuscript submitted to journal
  • Q4 Submit Phase 3 ladder manuscript to OD
  • Q4 Submit trade article with all-phase results to OD


  • Presentations at conferences (6)
  • Standards committee presentations and public meetings (5)
  • Published manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals (2 published, 3 in preparation)


  • Standards organizations use outputs to make improvements in firefighter boot standards and by boot manufacturers to produce lighter boots
  • Outputs are cited by other researchers working on firefighter PPE or footwear
Page last updated: April 17, 2012
Page last reviewed: April 17, 2012
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory