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01-12-2019 | Research | Uitgave 1/2019 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2019

Factors associated with type of footwear worn inside the house: a cross-sectional study

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2019
Alex L. Barwick, Jaap J. van Netten, Sheree E. Hurn, Lloyd F. Reed, Peter A. Lazzarini
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-019-0356-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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In specific populations, including those at risk of falls or foot ulcers, indoor footwear is an important aspect of preventative care. This study aims to describe the indoor footwear worn most over the previous year in a sample representative of the Australian inpatient population, and to explore the sociodemographic, medical, foot condition and foot treatment history factors associated with the indoor footwear worn.


This was a secondary analysis of data collected from inpatients admitted to five hospitals across Queensland, Australia. Sociodemographic information, medical history, foot conditions and foot treatment history were collected as explanatory variables. Outcomes included the self-reported type of indoor footwear (from 16 standard footwear types) worn most in the year prior to hospitalisation, and the category in which the self-reported footwear type was defined according to its features: ‘protective’, ‘non-protective’ and ‘no footwear’. Multivariate analyses determined explanatory variables independently associated with each type and category.


Protective footwear was worn by 11% of participants (including 4% walking shoes, 4% running shoes, 2% oxford shoes), and was independently associated with education above year 10 level (OR 1.78, p = 0.028) and having had foot treatment by a specialist physician (5.06, p = 0.003). Most participants (55%) wore non-protective footwear (including 21% slippers, 15% thongs/flip flops, 7% backless slippers), which was associated with older age (1.03, p < 0.001). No footwear was worn by 34% of participants (30% barefoot, 3% socks only). Those of older age (0.97, p < 0.001) and those in the most disadvantaged socioeconomic group (0.55, p = 0.019) were less likely to wear no footwear (socks or barefoot).


Only one in nine people in a large representative inpatient population wore a protective indoor footwear most of the time in the previous year. Whilst having education levels above year 10 and having received previous foot treatment by a specialist physician were associated with wearing protective footwear indoors, the presence of a range of other medical and foot conditions were not. These findings provide information to enable clinicians, researchers and policymakers to develop interventions aimed at improving indoor footwear habits that may help prevent significant health burdens such as falls and foot ulcers.

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