Sometimes, the correlation between a person’s height and feet size looks like incomparable or simply strange; for instance, when an individual is small but has shoes of large size as compared to one’s height or vice versa. Besides, it is interesting why representatives of one nationality are taller and have larger feet than those of another ethnic group. Hence, this multisided question has been the subject of interest of not only ordinary people but scholars throughout many disciplines for a long time. As an illustration, development anatomy and physiology research this area and have created approximate correlation charts and tables depicting predicted average height and shoe size at a particular age (regarding children, for example). Moreover, since it is a significant measure of physical identity, forensic science considers this issue, and its topicality within this field is growing.
However, there is a lack of scholarly research that precisely and thoroughly explores the relation between human height and foot size regarding such factors as individual’s nationality, gender, and age at large. Mostly, scientists pay their attention to either discussion of these aspects separately or conducting quantitative studies, which also provide a narrowed consideration of the issue. It is necessary to note that ethnic, gender, and age characteristics are the most important for understanding the height-to-foot-size ratio in terms of ordinary observation. Namely, in case two persons with respect to the aforementioned attributes are compared, they will definitely have different height and foot size. As a result, the question may arise regarding how these characteristics will differ if individuals of the same gender and age but of Asian and European origin will be taken under analysis. Therefore, these features are notable and have to be assessed when height-to-foot-size correlation is studied.
This paper will conduct a current academic literature review concerning the topic trying to clarify whether or not there is dependence between height and foot size of a person in terms of one’s gender, age, and nationality. Also, a gap in the scholarly research will be emphasised, the importance of this field will be discussed, and directions and recommendations for further studies will be outlined and argued.
On the basis of the scholarly sources, which are mostly current, it has been noticed that researchers majorly explore the topic narrowly. In other words, they investigate the relation between human shoe size and height concerning two-three specified features, such as similar gender and race, the same age and sex of the sample, etc. Some of the sources reviewed were written in the early 1990s or on the verge of the 2000s. Nonetheless, they are not outdated, but have been taken under consideration because of the specified angles they have provided to understand the research question in a broader sense. What is more, it is quite hard to find a source that is devoted to one particular characteristic in order to arrange a strict classification of the articles under analysis. Thus, some sources will be considered in few categories. In any case, the approach of literature review has been chosen to complete this assignment in order to realise the current state of research of this area, clarify the gaps and outline the ways and importance for further study.
Nationality can be boldly called one of the prime distinctive features regarding height and foot size of people from various ethnic backgrounds. As a result, the greater number of sources reviewed has highlighted this issue. Moreover, attention of many scholars has been paid to Asian and Latin American ethnic groups. For example, a study by Fun et al. has provided a qualitative analysis of Malay-Chinese comparison with regard to race and gender characteristics. The scholars have clarified that foot-size-height correlation was significant for Chinese rather than Malays after the comparison of sample of 150 people (Fun et al. 23). Thus, although both ethnic groups belong to the common Asian origin, there are differences between analysed anthropometric attributes of these people. Hence, nationality plays a notable role in understanding the relation between human height and shoe size. Khairulmazidah, Nadiah and Rumiza have also studied the issue on the basis of Malaysian population. Nonetheless, this evaluation of height-foot-size was multiplied by shoeprints analysis. The authors underlined that it is foot length rather than shoeprint what is related to person’s height. Also, they advocate the importance of studies of this kind for “formulation of biological profile as one of the modern roles of forensic anthropologist” (119). Another article by Jakhar, Pal and Paliwal demonstrated the results of their study on the current topic conducted concerning 103 Indian students from Haryana region. In this case, researchers confirmed, “A good correlation of height was observed with foot length and it was statistically highly significant” (Jakhar, Pal and Paliwal 231). Krishan, who studied Indian residents, as well, showed close relativity between feet dimensions (see Figure 1) and human stature according to the results obtained from a sample of 1,040 males.
Besides, the scholar emphasised the importance of these parameters for forensic examinations on the crime scenes (Krishan 93). Mansur et al. have paid their attention to researching the question discussed with relation to the Nepalese population involving both men (258 individuals) and women (182 persons). The study has also proved height-to-foot-size correlation within this ethnic group. What is important regarding this investigation, scholars have provided a justification concerning why such measures and studies are necessary in clinic perspective. To be more precise, the results and findings of the research can be applied for identification of an individual in medico-legal cases, among others.
Parash et al. have studied the given research question on the Bangladeshi background. The central hypothesis of the investigation was the statement: “There are inter-racial and inter-geographical differences in measurements and their correlation with stature which may be true for one race or one region or which may not be true for the other” (Parash et al. 85). In this case, the scholars used the foot calliper (see Figure 2) but not footprint to measure feet length of participants. In addition, they proved that this form of stature prediction is as accurate as the commonly applied technique involving “the long bones and lower limb measurements” (Parash et al. 84).
A work by the Harvard Medical School has considered the problem more thoroughly. However, it has been stated by the Harvard specialists that there is a connection between ethnic features and taller or shorter height of person because of genetic differences. It is also needed to underline that both height (length) and foot size of a new born child do not determine one’s future maximal indexes of these attributes regardless of race. Apart from that, this research has asserted that “foot size itself is a poor predictor of ultimate height” (“Can We Predict Height?”).
Oarslan et al. have researched the outlined body parameters within Turkish residents, but these scholars have chosen a specified angle for the study. Particularly, this race-based exploration was of comparative design and was devoted to clarification which body measurements – breadth and hand beside foot length – are the best for predicting the person’s height. After the aforementioned characteristics within a sample comprised of 356 volunteers have been compared, the scholars have realised that foot length and hand measurements are the most accurate predictors for human stature features. As a result, it has been concluded that forensic specialists should put an accent on these parameters when identifying a person in their work.
Chittawatarat et al. explored the issue indicated on the grounds of 2,000 indented population of Thailand. The necessity for the research was caused by the lack of Thailand-based “measurements for particular clinical situations” (Chittawatarat et al. 347). Figure 3 below demonstrates the specifics of measurements taken during the study. Volunteers that participated in the research were diverse in various dimensions. In other words, those were both men and women of different age (even under 18) and different health condition (some had chronic disease). However, Chittawatarat et al. excluded measurements obtained from the above-indicated persons (aged less than 18 and with complicated health condition) to avoid bias and ensure a more precise results. Therefore, the scholars clarified that foot length was both influential and more accurate predictor for human height, as well as the same accurate one as long bone length. What is also notable about this study, the authors were able to ensure the development of formula for the height prediction providing 90% precise outcome, which is higher as compared to other researches.
To sum up, many scholars have researched the height-to-foot-size correlation area concerning the nationality of the sample under analysis. Therefore, this field is well-studied at large. However, it is to be noted that almost all articles reviewed have considered specified ethnic groups, whereas no current studies have been found regarding European nations or those that would compare samples from European, Asian, African or other regions.
The greater part of researches related to correlation between gender and the height-footprint characteristic is quantitative. Moreover, usually gender is used as additional variable (alongside with nationality) and such studies are rarely only gender-centred. However, Parash et al. have researched predictability of height with respect to foot length in 100 Bangladeshi males. As it has been found by the scholar, there was no sufficient difference between measured parameters (namely, measured height) and those calculated. In any case, a conclusion can be drawn that there is either relation within height-to-foot-size correlation or gender is a significant aspect for this process exploration.
Certain explorers made attempts to understand if it is possible to detect a person’s sex and stature in accordance with one’s foot dimensions. For example, Ozden et al. held a comparative study researching 294 males and 275 females. After the necessary characteristics were measured, the authors applied statistics methods to average the results obtained and create formulas for estimation both probable height and gender in case shoe size indexes are available. Formulas were developed for right and left side of the body separately. Hence, scholars found that it is possible to predict height when foot characteristics are known. More so, identification of sex of an individual was easier to execute having those measures as compared to stature. Similar findings were reported by Fun et al. They showed that formula of gender identification has 86.3-87.5% of accuracy in females and 85.2-85.7% accuracy in males (Fun et al. 23).
Some researchers have investigated height and foot size as components of the current literature review while adding another one for comparison with respect for a specified gender group. For instance, an article by Siminoski and Bain can be considered as an illustration. Scholars examined 63 males as sample for a study aged 27-71. As a result, they found interrelation between men’s height and shoe size. However, the authors also tried to clarify whether or not the above-indicated anthropometric elements are connected with penile length. Thus, this research proved that, notwithstanding the fact the penile length varied with respect to the sample, there was no direct relation between man’s height, foot size, and penile length.
Another study, conducted by Zeybek, Ergur and Demiroglu, has examined 249 males and females within the Turkish context in order to clarify if it is possible to perform the identification of a person, model one’s stature and sex, using foot size parameters. The scholars have measured feet throughout the sample (see Figure 4) to test their hypothesis. They have attempted to prove that “anatomic structure of the foot shows ethnical and regional variations by congenital, climatic factors, physical activities, nutrition condition and used shoe type” (Zeybek, Ergur and Demiroglu 54.e1). As an outcome of the study, the researchers confirmed that by means of their calculations and formulas, it is possible to determine both stature and gender characteristics of a person when having shoe size attributes with about 95% accuracy.
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Fessler, Haley and Lal also centred on gender characteristics as a major focus of their research. However, the vector of their investigation has been specified. Thus, the explorers tried to understand “whether proportionate foot length is sexually dimorphic and, if so, the nature of that dimorphism” (Fessler, Haley and Lal 44). One more distinctive feature of this study is that it can be called international comparative analysis. The point is that the sample involved participants from the USA, Turkey, and Native North and Central America. Apart from that, the researchers have examined foot tracings from the Steggerda Collection at the US National Museum of Health and Medicine and compared their own findings with results obtained by previous studies within this area. As it has been noticed by Fessler, Haley and Lal, results in terms of individuals’ height-to-foot-size correlation varied across diverse populations. Nevertheless, they also concluded,
Given the biomechanical challenges posed by pregnancy, smaller female proportionate foot length is somewhat surprising, as foot length affects dortoventral stability. It is possible that the observed pattern reflects intersexual selection for small female foot size, a cue of youth and nulliparity (Fessler, Haley and Lal 44). An interesting approach to understanding of the relation between foot size, height, age, and gender has been conducted by Kanchman et al. The point is that these scholars tried to trace the links between males and females within North Indian endogamous group with respect to the aforementioned body parameters. 200 participants – 100 men and 100 women – were examined. As a result of a detailed analysis of various measurements regarding height and feet, the investigators have found that estimation of person’s height through the foot dimensions is highly significant statistically. More so, for females, the most accurate correlation characteristic was evidenced to be the one between stature and foot breadth, whereas for males, coefficient of correlation between height and foot length provided the most precise predictions. In addition, multiple regression analysis has been proved to be the “most accurate” means to predict stature (Kanchman et al. 241.e1).
Thus, investigation of the relation between person’s foot size, height, and gender has been a subject of a multisided exploration. In any case, there is much room for further research: for instance, in terms of comparative one-gender studies with an accent on diverse (European, Australian, African, etc.) ethnic characteristics.
As a rule, such factor as age with respect to the height-footprint analysis is not considered as the specified variable. Researchers take into account this aspect in the scope of investigations based on other dimensions of this issue, e.g. in relation to race or sex. One of the studies where age characteristic was a centrepiece was conducted by Nangia et al. It was aimed at clarification of the question whether or not there is a link between height and ophthalmology issues of the adult population in Central India. Although in this case, foot size factor was not considered, it was found that height of people and their eyes’ size is related: “taller subjects had larger eyes” (Nangia et al. 1657).
With respect to the age, height-to-foot-size indexes relation is a useful measure to develop health educational or disease preventive programmes. For instance, Busscher et al. have traced the potential age for boys and girls when their feet experience “peak increase.” The analysis of measures of 242 girls and 104 was made during the time frame from 1991 to 2008. It was clarified that for boys, this border period was in the age of 10.4 approximately while for girls, it was later – in 11.5 years of age (Busscher et al. 1). It is to be stressed that following children development in accordance with the age, girls are usually higher as compared to boys in the aforementioned age period. Furthermore, scholars have argued that their findings are notable for clinicians, educators, and parents among other stakeholders, as well as children themselves. The point is that both specialists and parents have to pay maximal attention to their children development and care, organise health care projects to avoid problems with health in children because of intensive growth. Such health concerns may involve scoliosis or curvature of spine just to list a few.
Ford, Khoury and Frank have investigated the height-to-foot-size correlation with its relation to pubertal onset. Although the study was gender-based – 86 6-7-year-old girls were observed – the age has been a prime variable here. The researchers attempted to explore whether there is a link between the increase in foot length and height and other manifestations of pubertal onset. As a result, after 24 months of the study, it has been clarified that shoe size change in this age period can be called an early marker for transition to pubertal onset. Moreover, both increased foot and height growth “occurred before onset of secondary sexual characteristics” (Ford, Khoury and Frank 500). In such a way, the body parameters under analysis have been also examined in terms of age specifics, and this vector of academic research with respect to the field is another potential aspect for further exploration.
A study by McLaren has provided a new angle on the importance of the measurements analysed and their correlation. Specifically, the author collected data among 4,008 college students and considered and detailed it with respect to the age. Nevertheless, the researcher used the data obtained for a specified purpose: students applied information about their height-to-foot-size correlation in their studying. To be more precise, McLaren offered to use students’ personal experience while learning correlation and regression during pursuing business course in Indiana State University. In this way, intended audience were able to understand the material better and realise connections between variables clearer.
As it has been previously stated, an age parameter is often an inclusive rather than separate variable considered by scholars in terms of height-to-foot-size relation. Nonetheless, it ought to be stressed that this feature can be an interesting object for exploration. For example, age characteristics with respect to the research question and tracing the height-to-foot-size correlation during individuals’ physiological development and growth or getting old can be studied thoroughly.
This research question is necessary to be studied within few fields, and some of them have been mentioned earlier. This section of the paper is devoted to argumentation of importance, topicality, and practical applications of the height-to-foot-size correlation as a subject for analysis throughout various disciplines. Particularly, a thorough exploration of the topic is crucial for advancement of forensic science and its branches (anthropology, archaeology, etc.), and a large number of sources in the scope of the paper have confirmed this fact. The point is that the planet is constantly exposed by natural cataclysms and disasters, and their destructive force and scale increases immensely each time. Manmade disasters such as terrorist attacks, mass incidents, wars, air crashes among others are severe hazards to human life, as well. Hence, many people worldwide are under the threat of being impacted by these events or even killed. As a result, it is possible to establish the individual’s identity “from mutilated, decomposed and amputed body fragments” (Mansur et al. 16). In this way, human stature is proved to be the most important parameter for a person’s identity clarification. When not all necessary components of human stature are available for identification, foot characteristics are of enormous assistance for predictions. What is more, thorough knowledge on this topic is notable for specific analysis in the crime scene and during the investigation. In this case, investigators are enabled with an opportunity to find out some information about a suspect by the footprint. Therefore, the research question is a vital element of forensics in terms of both theoretical argumentation and practical application.
Furthermore, the issue examined is critical for medical research enhancement. Only few studies within the literature considered have investigated the height-to-foot-size relation in the health care and medical dimensions. However, this direction for researching the issue is extremely significant. First, height and fshoe size parameters change with time, in accordance with specific age. This aspect is crucial for health care providers since they have to develop health educational and preventive programmes following the age characteristics. For instance, projects related to scoliosis and curvature of the spine prophylaxis can be created and practiced for schoolchildren during their “peak increase” in height and foot growth regarding different sexes, involving physical trainings, health care lections and so forth. This information is also useful for educators because they are to create maximally safe conditions to ensure students’ healthy educational environment. Second, health care programmes may also educate people how to save and support their spine and feet’s health on the basis of researches proving how health conditions of these parts of the body modify with time and how they are interrelated.
Another area where the findings of height-to-foot-size ratio are necessary is the sphere of clothes and footwear design. Particularly, designers not simply create new fashionable models but apply the results of scholarly researches to make sure that production they have manufactured is suitable for a person’s healthy spine and feet. To illustrate, there has been an interesting research conducted by Wunderlich and Cavanagh. These scholars have connected shoe size, ethnic, age, and gender characteristics of an individual in order to incorporate their findings into the development of shoe design and manufacturing. Of course, this study has covered the research question of the given paper only partially. Nevertheless, this example shows that academic research and its practical implementation are not only connected but also useful. Moreover, this scientific approach to doing business has to be updated constantly to create high-quality goods from high-quality materials for comfort and health of their consumers. By doing so, manufacturers will be able to overcome the market competition and have many grateful and loyal customers.
As it has been evidenced by only one source within a literature review, the height-to-foot-size correlation measurements (with respect to gender characteristics, as well) are useful illustrative material for understanding the specifics of statistical research. To be more precise, the study by McLaren is to be indicated. With her research, she has demonstrated that it was easier for students to gain knowledge and realise the essence of such topics as correlation and regression. Particularly, the scholar has proved that when students had to operate the data collected to show and explain the aforementioned processes, it was not hard for them to do so following their personal information, namely their foot size and height.
Therefore, it is beyond any doubt that height-to-foot-size correlation exists.
Before making any outlines for further research directions, it should be stressed that there is a direct relation between human height and foot size as proved by numerous studies reviewed in the scope of this paper. Moreover, it is logical to assume that a taller person needs longer feet to ensure a balanced support to one’s body due to its height (Street). It has been stated by the University of Rhode Island research of 2011 that “foot size has a standard measurement which is proportionate with other bone measurements in the arms, legs, neck” (Street). Namely, foot size characteristics are applicable to clarifying the height (approximate, or rather – predicted one), which is also evidenced by many researches considered in the paper. Conversely, such scholar as Shmerling believes that it is impossible to predict height through foot size measurement accurately (Street). In any case, summing up the academic literature review, it needs to be claimed that height and foot size are interrelated. Furthermore, it is a useful means to apply any of these parameters to predict another one. Based on the findings of this literature review, it is evident that there is sufficient room for further both narrowed and thorough studies.
Therefore, the paper has conducted a current academic literature review concerning the topic trying to clarify whether or not there is dependence between height and foot size of a person in terms of one’s gender, age, and nationality. Undoubtedly, all the above-indicated characteristics of the individual are interrelated as shown by the most sources. Moreover, scholars have proved that it is quite possible to predict a person’s stature, gender, age, and ethnicity by one’s foot measurements. The majority of articles reviewed have considered the given body parameters in terms of race. What is more, the greater part of them has researched people of Asian, African American or Latin American origin while Europeans have occurred beyond the scholars’ attention somehow. This aspect is suitable for further studies.
There is also a large number of academic sources regarding height-to-foot-size versus gender. To be more precise, almost every quantitative study in the scope of this paper has paid attention to gender characteristic. However, mostly sex is simply mentioned in the research description while only a few have conducted a detailed analysis of the topic with relation to this factor. As a result, a thorough investigation of this sphere should become another requirement for future scientific explorations.
Age parameter is frequently just indicated in sources connected with the research question, but it is rarely emphasised as a centrepiece of the study. In this way, this vector should be better studied, as well. It is beyond any doubt that the main concern of this paper is important for many scientific areas such as forensic sciences, medicine and health care, education, footwear and clothes design to name a few. Consequently, the height-to-foot-size correlation and relation is a proved fact. What is more, this issue provides an interesting field for multisided studies.
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