Background: Morphological and geometric differences between male and female feet can be the decisive factor of whether well-fitting, functional, and comfortable footwear is available for both men and women.
Methods: Optical scans, plaster wrap casts, and a set of manual measurements from the right feet of 51 female participants, aged 20 to 59 years (32 +/- 10.2 years), and 39 male participants, aged 22 to 71 years (47.1 +/- 12.1 years), were taken to determine which parameters were the most significant in characterizing pedal geometry and which had the largest difference between male and female feet.
Results: Analysis showed that the heel-to-ball length (ball length) of the male participants' feet (181.5 mm) was significantly longer, on average, than that of the female participants' feet (165.0 mm). The width of the male paticipants' feet at the ball, instep, and heel regions, as well as the ball circumference, normalized by the ball length, were all significantly larger on average, than the female test participants' feet. However, toe region, instep, and medial and lateral malleoli heights were larger, on average, for the female participants than for the male. The results show that female feet differ in size and shape from male feet and are not algebraically scaled, smaller versions of male feet, as is often assumed.
Conclusions: The study shows that the average male participants' feet are longer than that of the female participants' feet, while the female feet are relatively narrower but higher than those of the male participants.