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Comparison of female foot morphology and last design in athletic footwear--are men's lasts appropriate for women?
Krauss I, Valiant G, Horstmann T, Grau S. Res Sports Med. 2010 Apr;18(2):140-56.
The purpose of this study was to investigate differences between female feet and last design. Four hundred twenty-four feet and four men's running shoe lasts (U.S. women 6.0-9.5), which also are used for the manufacturing of women's shoes, were scanned in three dimensions. Six foot measures were quantified. Different foot types were classified using a cluster analysis. Comparisons were made between last measures and averaged as well as foot type specific foot measures. Differences in width measures between lasts and foot types vary substantially (0-9 mm). Length grading is similar for lasts and feet (differences < 1mm). Width grading is larger in lasts in comparison with average grading in feet (3.5-5.9 mm). Last design and grading should account for the sex-specific allometry in foot measures. The use of down-graded men's lasts for women's shoes has to be questioned. Therefore, sex-specific reference measures and wear tests should incorporate different foot types in different sizes to allow suitable implications for a proper design and grading of lasts.
One important extrinsic factor that causes foot deformity and pain in women is footwear. Women's sports shoes are designed as smaller versions of men's shoes. Based on this, the current study aims to identify foot shape in 1,236 Chinese young adult men and 1,085 Chinese young adult women. Three-dimensional foot shape data were collected through video filming. Nineteen foot shape variables were measured, including girth (4 variables), length (4 variables), width (3 variables), height (7 variables), and angle (1 variable). A comparison of foot measures within the range of the common foot length (FL) categories indicates that women showed significantly smaller values of foot measures in width, height, and girth than men. Three foot types were classified, and distributions of different foot shapes within the same FL were found between women and men. Foot width, medial ball length, ball angle, and instep height showed significant differences among foot types in the same FL for both genders. There were differences in the foot shape between Chinese young women and men, which should be considered in the design of Chinese young adults' sports shoes.