Knowledge of gender differences in foot shape assists shoe manufactures with designing appropriate shoes for men and women. Although gender differences in foot shapes are relatively known among young men and women, less is known about how the older men and women's feet differ in shape. A recent development in foot shape assessment is the use of 3D foot scanners. To our knowledge this technology has yet to be used to examine gender differences in foot shape of Japanese older adults.
This cross-sectional study included 151 older men (74.5 ± 5.6 years) and 140 older women (73.9 ± 5.1 years) recruited in Kasama City, Japan. Foot variables were measured in sitting and standing positions using Dream GP Incorporated's 3D foot scanner, Footstep PRO (Osaka, Japan). Scores were analyzed as both raw and normalized to truncated foot length using independent samples t-test and analysis of covariance, respectively.
In men, the measurement values for navicular height, first and fifth toe and instep heights, ball and heel width, ball girth, arch height index (just standing), arch rigidity index and instep girth were significantly greater than the women's, whereas the first toe angle, in both sitting and standing positions was significantly smaller. However, after normalizing, the differences in ball width, heel width, height of first and fifth toes in both sitting and standing and ball girth in sitting position were nonsignificant. According to Cohen's d, among all the foot variables, the following had large effect sizes in both sitting and standing positions: truncated foot length, instep, navicular height, foot length, ball girth, ball width, heel width and instep girth.
This study provides evidence of anthropometric foot variations between older men and women. These differences need to be considered when manufacturing shoes for older adults.