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Feet aid silent movement: African lion


African Lion paw / Erin and Lan.. / LicenseCC-by-nc-nd - Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

The feet of African lions allow them to move silently because large foot pads cushion the sound of their footfalls.

"The paws of a lion resemble those of most of the cat family. Cats and dogs walk in what is called the digitigrade position: the heel and instep are raised off the ground, making locomotion quieter and more versatile. The large pads on the ball of the foot and on the toes provide a cushion when walking and also help silence the feet. The lion has retractile claws -- it can retract them while at rest or when walking, so that they do not catch in the ground and reduce his speed." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:177)
About the inspiring organism
Med_africanlionpaw Lion
Panthera leo (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common name: African lion

Habitat(s): Desert, Forest, Grassland, Savanna, Shrubland
Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Threat Categories LONG_VU IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Quieter transportation systems or vehicles, noise dampening applications.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Transportation, noise management

Foy S; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
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I think it would be a good idea to replicate the foot pad and create a new kind of flexible, tough, durable, and comfortable shoe. It would cushion each step, manage heat, and would restrict foot movement less.
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