Dimensional differences for evaluating the quality of footwear fit

Very few standards exist for fitting products to people. Footwear is a noteworthy example. This study is an attempt to evaluate the quality of footwear fit using two-dimensional foot outlines. Twenty Hong Kong Chinese students participated in an experiment that involved three pairs of dress shoes and one pair of athletic shoes. The participants’ feet were scanned using a commercial laser scanner, and each participant wore and rated the fit of each region of each shoe. The shoe lasts were also scanned and were used to match the foot scans with the last scans. The ANOVA showed significant (p < 0.05) differences among the four pairs of shoes for the overall, fore-foot and rear-foot fit ratings. There were no significant differences among shoes for mid-foot fit rating. These perceived differences were further analysed after matching the 2D outlines of both last and feet. The point-wise dimensional difference between foot and shoe outlines were computed and analysed after normalizing with foot perimeter. The dimensional difference (DD) plots along the foot perimeter showed that fore-foot fit was strongly correlated (R(2) > 0.8) with two of the minimums in the DD-plot while mid-foot fit was strongly correlated (R(2) > 0.9) with the dimensional difference around the arch region and a point on the lateral side of the foot. The DD-plots allow the designer to determine the critical locations that may affect footwear fit in addition to quantifying the nature of misfit so that design changes to shape and material may be possible.

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