Some boots are made for walking, and some are made for walking more efficiently.
Scientists have developed an unpowered exoskeleton "boot" that reduces the amount of energy spent while walking by about 7 percent. The boot has a passive clutch that activates a spring in parallel with the Achilles tendon when the foot is on the ground. That offloads the effort of the calf muscles, making walking easier, researchers report April 1 in Nature.
Seven percent doesn't seem like much of an energy savings. But humans have been walking for a long time, and finding that a slight energy savings is still possible suggests there's still much more to learn about walking, the team says.