BACKGROUND:Field exercise tests are a feasible alternative to the symptom-limited exercise test for measuring exercise capacity in patients attending cardiac rehabilitation. AIMS:To evaluate the criterion validity of the 10 m incremental shuttle walk test (ISWT) as a useful tool for measurement of exercise capacity for patients eligible for cardiac rehabilitation. METHODS:Fifteen patients eligible for cardiac rehabilitation completed a treadmill symptom-limited exercise test and two ISWTs with the order of testing randomised. Associations between the symptom-limited exercise test and the ISWT were explored and the ability of the ISWT to predict symptom-limited exercise test duration estimated. RESULTS:There was a moderate to high association ( r2 ⩾0.72) between ISWT duration and distance, and symptom-limited exercise test duration; and a moderate association between ISWT peak heart rate and end of test oxygen saturation and these outcomes on the symptom-limited exercise test (0.47⩽ r2 ⩽0.67). However, prediction of symptom-limited exercise test duration based on the ISWT produced wide 95% confidence intervals, for example, ranging from 9.1 to 16.3 minutes for an individual who completes the ISWT. Order of testing did not affect the results and the association between the ISWT and symptom-limited exercise test was similar for both the first (ISWT 1) and second test (ISWT 2) ISWT. CONCLUSIONS:The results provide support for the ISWT as a convenient field test of exercise capacity in a cardiac rehabilitation population, but not as a surrogate to predict symptom-limited exercise test duration for individuals. A single ISWT may provide as good an estimate of exercise capacity as repeating the test.