This paper presents a method to optimize the energy efficiency of walking bipedal robots by more than 80% in a speed range from 0.3 to 2.3 m/s using elastic couplings – mechanical springs with movement speed independent parameters. The considered planar robot consists of a trunk, two two-segmented legs, two actuators in the hip joints, two actuators in the knee joints and an elastic coupling between the shanks. It is modeled as underactuated system to make use of its natural dynamics and feedback controlled via input-output linearization. A numerical optimization of the joint angle trajectories as well as the elastic couplings is performed to minimize the average energy expenditure over the whole speed range. The elastic couplings increase the swing leg motion’s natural frequency thus making smaller steps more efficient which reduce the impact loss at the touchdown of the swing leg. The process of energy turnover is investigated in detail for the robot with and without elastic coupling between the shanks. Furthermore, the influences of the elastic couplings’ topology and of joint friction are analyzed. It is shown that the optimization of the robot’s motion and elastic coupling towards energy efficiency leads to a slightly slower convergence rate of the controller, yet no loss of stability but a lower sensitivity with respect to disturbances. ... mehrThe optimal elastic coupling discovered via numerical optimization is a linear torsion spring with transmissions between the shanks. A design proposal for this elastic coupling – which does not affect the robot’s trunk and parallel shank motion and can be used to enhance an existing robot – is given for planar as well as spatial robots.