Do the feet of German and Australian children differ in structure? Implications for children's shoe design
The purpose of this study was to determine whether there were any significant differences in the morphology of the feet of children living on two different continents. The shape and dimensions of the feet of 86 preschool and 419 primary school children from Australia, matched to the same number of German children for age, gender, height and BMI, were compared. The German children display significantly longer and flatter feet relative to their Australian counterparts, whereas the Australian children reveal a significantly smaller ball angle, implying that the forefoot of the Australian children is squarer in shape. These findings imply that footwear must be designed to cater to the unique foot dimensions of children in different continents to ensure that shoe shape matches foot shape. Most footwear companies do not vary the dimensions of their shoe lasts to accommodate intercontinental differences in foot morphology based on racial and/or environmental factors. The results of this study will have immediate implications for the design of comfortable footwear suitable for the developing feet of children.