In elastic arteries, mean wall shear stress appears to be close to 1.5 Pa, the value predicted by the theory of minimal energy loss. This finding in elastic arteries does not necessarily represent the situation in muscular arteries. Elastic arteries have to store potential energy, while muscular arteries have mainly a conductive function. Therefore, we determined wall shear stress and its age dependency in the common and superficial femoral arteries, 2–3 cm from the flow divider in 54 presumed healthy volunteers between 21 and 74 years of age, using a non-invasive ultrasound system. Prior to the study, the reliability of this system was determined in terms of intrasubject variation. Mean wall shear stress was significantly lower in the common femoral artery (0.35 ± 0.18 Pa) than in the superficial femoral artery (0.49 ± 0.15 Pa). In all age categories, peak systolic wall shear stress and the maximal cyclic change in wall shear stress were not significantly different in the common and the superficial femoral arteries. Peak systolic wall shear stress in the common and the superficial femoral arteries was not significantly different from the value previously determined in the common carotid artery, but mean wall shear stress was lower in the common and superficial femoral arteries than in the common carotid artery by a factor of 2–4. In both the common and the superficial femoral arteries, mean, peak systolic and maximal cyclic change in wall shear stress did not change significantly with age, nor did diameter. We conclude that, as compared to elastic arteries, mean wall shear stress is low in the conductive arteries of a resting leg, due to backflow during the first part of the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle and the absence of flow during the rest of the diastolic phase. Mean wall shear stress is lower in the common than in the superficial femoral artery due to additional reflections from the deep femoral artery.