I was reading another question on the site when I noticed the EVA suit sports heels.

Astronaut with heels

Why do they put heels on space suits? (cropped detailed view)

  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes they walk in the spacesuit also in gravity? For example, if they enter the spaceship before launch. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Mar 28, 2018 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ Different suits are worn for launch and landing. $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2018 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ Frankly, from the title, I was hoping you would be asking about this picture pbs.twimg.com/media/DSJpX2tWkAA68sd.jpg $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2018 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ To help the shorter astronauts feel better ? :-P $\endgroup$
    – Criggie
    Mar 29, 2018 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


That only looks like a heel! As shown here, it's a "foot restraint interface"!

That said, it probably makes walking around in the training facilities a lot easier. Although that doesn't happen much - the EMUs are heavy.

enter image description here

Source: JSC-19450 Rev. B Extravehicular Mobility Unit Systems Training Workbook

This picture of a Manipulator Foot Restraint - it was grappled by the shuttle robot arm and used to move crewpersons around - shows the interface with the boot. You can see where the heels fit.

enter image description here

Source: Smithsonian Air & Space museum

And here's a crewperson in the restraint.

enter image description here


Finally, here's the Portable Foot Restraint attached to the space station robot arm. You can see it has the same interface to the boot.

enter image description here


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    $\begingroup$ Yes. The ISS suit is essentially the same as the shuttle suit. The bottom picture shows the space station robot arm. I will edit the answer to make that clear, thanks. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2018 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ Basically it is a cleat, like on a downhill ski boot. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:38
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    $\begingroup$ I hope there is an additional safety ine beyond that boot attachment. $\endgroup$
    – Yakk
    Mar 29, 2018 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ Tether protocols are strictly followed. In the bottom picture you can see the tether attached near the foot restraint mount and stretching up to the crewperson. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2018 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ Of course, if you go back as far as Persian Cavalry "foot restraint interface" and "heel" are the same thing - they originated so you could stand in the stirrup of a galloping horse. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2018 at 21:17

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