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01-12-2014 | Research | Uitgave 1/2014 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2014

Comparing 3D foot scanning with conventional measurement methods

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2014
Yu-Chi Lee, Gloria Lin, Mao-Jiun J Wang
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13047-014-0044-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.



Foot dimension information on different user groups is important for footwear design and clinical applications. Foot dimension data collected using different measurement methods presents accuracy problems. This study compared the precision and accuracy of the 3D foot scanning method with conventional foot dimension measurement methods including the digital caliper, ink footprint and digital footprint.


Six commonly used foot dimensions, i.e. foot length, ball of foot length, outside ball of foot length, foot breadth diagonal, foot breadth horizontal and heel breadth were measured from 130 males and females using four foot measurement methods. Two-way ANOVA was performed to evaluate the sex and method effect on the measured foot dimensions. In addition, the mean absolute difference values and intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) were used for precision and accuracy evaluation. The results were also compared with the ISO 20685 criteria.


The participant's sex and the measurement method were found (p < 0.05) to exert significant effects on the measured six foot dimensions. The precision of the 3D scanning measurement method with mean absolute difference values between 0.73 to 1.50 mm showed the best performance among the four measurement methods. The 3D scanning measurements showed better measurement accuracy performance than the other methods (mean absolute difference was 0.6 to 4.3 mm), except for measuring outside ball of foot length and foot breadth horizontal. The ICCs for all six foot dimension measurements among the four measurement methods were within the 0.61 to 0.98 range.


Overall, the 3D foot scanner is recommended for collecting foot anthropometric data because it has relatively higher precision, accuracy and robustness. This finding suggests that when comparing foot anthropometric data among different references, it is important to consider the differences caused by the different measurement methods.

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