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The horizontal component of the reaction force responsible for forward movement of person while walking is regarded as frictional force. But when a person pushes the ground backward, the supposed relative motion is person moving forward. Then the frictional force should act backward opposing that relative motion. But then why is that horizontal component of reaction force that is acting forward regarded as friction?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi. Can you please see whether this answers your question - physics.stackexchange.com/q/480860/238167? $\endgroup$ – Guru Vishnu May 26 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ No sir. It does not cover why the horizontal part is regarded as friction. $\endgroup$ – kumar May 26 at 6:12
  • $\begingroup$ @SanjuKumar In what way does "There is tendency of our feet slipping backwards. In that case, friction comes into play" not answer your question? Try walking in roller skates! $\endgroup$ – Guy Inchbald May 26 at 6:46
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The frictional force is static. Your foot on the ground has no relative movement (unless you slip) with respect to the ground. Thus the frictional force does not oppose movement, but the action force by which you push on the ground. Your feet push backward on the ground, making the reaction forward.

But this frictional force is perfectly balanced otherwise it would be your feet that accelerate and not your body. The frictional force is necessary to make your feet static, so that when the rest of your body pushes on its feet, they will not move backward, as they do for example on ice.

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