A combined morphometric analysis of foot form and its association with sex, stature, and body mass

Jacqueline Domjanic, Horst Seidler, Philipp Mitteroecker (Corresponding author)

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Objectives: Morphometric analysis of footprints is a classic means for orthopedic diagnosis. In forensics and physical anthropology, it is commonly used for the estimation of stature and body mass. We studied individual variation and sexual dimorphism of foot dimensions and footprint shape by a combination of classic foot measurements and geometric morphometric methods. Methods: Left and right feet of 134 healthy adult males and females were scanned twice with a 3D optical laser scanner, and stature as well as body mass were recorded. Foot length and width were measured on the 3D scans. The 2D footprints were extracted as the plantar-most 2 mm of the 3D scans and measured with 85 landmarks and semilandmarks. Results: Both foot size and footprint shape are sexually dimorphic and relate to stature and body mass. While dimorphism in foot length largely results from dimorphism in stature, dimorphism in footprint shape partly owes to the dimorphism in BMI. Stature could be estimated well based on foot length (R2 = 0.76), whereas body mass was more closely related to foot width (R2 = 0.62). Sex could be estimated correctly for 95% of the individuals based on a combination of foot width and length. Discussion: Geometric morphometrics proved to be an effective tool for the detailed analysis of footprint shape. However, for the estimation of stature, body mass, and sex, shape variables did not considerably improve estimates based on foot length and width.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-591
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 106045 Theoretical biology


  • BMI
  • foot shape
  • footprint
  • forensics
  • Procrustes
  • sexual dimorphism

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