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If the shoe fits

Global Foot Dimensions report published by SATRA

4th October 2017

After four years of research and a substantial foot dimensions survey in the UK, USA and China using 3D scanning technology, SATRA has now published a 300-page report.

The aim of the report is to update the industry’s understanding of foot shape and sizing and to enable brands and manufacturers of footwear to offer a greater degree of fit and comfort to the end customer. Not only is good fit a major factor when trying to achieve comfort, it is also the single biggest cause of returns for online sales throughout the world.

The SATRA Global Foot Dimensions report disseminates a series of fundamental foot dimension statistics, including foot breadth, joint girth and instep girth. Having found the probability distributions for the data and assessed it for how good the fit is against the ideal normal distribution, it is possible to check the percentage of the population that footwear will accommodate. This is an extremely useful statistic, both for calculating manufacturing numbers and optimising stock. For example, offering a large range of UK sizes one through 11 in average (‘D’) fitting accommodates only 24.5 per cent of UK women, and requires 11 items in store. By offering a reduced shoe size range and increased width fitting range, such as UK sizes five to seven in fitting ‘C’ to ‘E’, the population coverage rises to 47 per cent with nine items in store.

Participants in the SATRA survey were also asked what shoe size they usually wore and many responded in saying they chose footwear that was too large for them in terms of length but was needed in order to achieve a comfortable width fitting. The report data shows that the average foot breadth of both men and women has increased since SATRA conducted a comparable large-scale foot sizing survey in the 1930s and 1940s, the details of which gradually became known throughout the world as Precision Grade and on which the shapes and sizes of lasts and footwear were subsequently based. There has been a growing demand for modern day accurate foot sizing data for quite some time and it is hoped that the new SATRA report will enable footwear brand manufacturers (and ultimately retailers) to achieve better fitting consistency, increase customer satisfaction, reduce returns and inventory costs and, ultimately, increase sales.

Elsewhere in the report, no major differences were identified between the US and UK foot shape but the survey found that the Chinese instep is noticeably lower while retaining a consistent circumference and, therefore, requires an alternative footwear shape to achieve a secure and comfortable fit.

The SATRA Global Foot Dimensions report is initially available exclusively to SATRA members, however, there is a report abstract that can be openly requested from SATRA. Please visit www.satra.com/footwear/global_foot_dimensions for more details.