Does Shoe Size Relate to Height?

Updated February 21, 2017

Shoe size is usually proportional to height. In general, shorter people have smaller feet, and taller people have larger feet. These measurements are not always exact, but statistically, height can be predicted by shoe size and vice versa, providing a host of data useful to forensic scientists and women's and men's clothing manufacturers and sellers.

Anthropometry and Correlations to Shoe Size

The length of a human foot from heel to toe is the same as the forearm's length, or the measurement from the elbow to the wrist. The science of studying human body sizing ratios is called anthropometry. Presently, researchers use anthropometric measurements for a variety of purposes, including clothing manufacture and design, forensic investigation and science, and studying the history of human population migration. The correlation between height and shoe size is a well-known anthropometric measurement with a long history of use.


Shoe size is based on several characteristics, including foot length, foot width and sometimes arch height. Different countries use different systems of shoe sizing, but it is not difficult for the average person to convert foot measurements to shoe size in any country.

All of the characteristics used in determining shoe size are statistically linked to height to a greater or lesser extent in men and women. Shoe size and height are also connected in children.

Differences Between Men and Women

Foot length is more closely connected to height in men than in women. In women, according to a 2008 study by Kasturba Medical College, the width of feet can be more relevant to the ability to estimate height. However, all foot measurements relate to height somewhat, according to K. Krishan of Punjab University, making shoe size a very useful indicator of height for men and women. Age can also affect the relation of shoe size to height.


Forensic scientists use the relation of shoe size and height as a way of determining information about the dead when a whole body is not present. Specifically, they measure the length and width of feet. Several formulas exist for using these measurements. However, shoe size relates to height just as easily, since the size of shoes is based on all measurements of the foot.

Practical and Business Applications

Retail managers, especially in men's wear, can use the relation of shoe size and height to predict the inventory needs of their customers: for example, a store that sells suits and wishes to expand to shoes, or that sells shoes and wishes to expand to suits, can use existing customer data to determine which sizes to stock. Manufacturers of men's wear will find these data relevant for the same reasons.

The measurement of feet and forearms can also be used to find the correct size of bicycle for a person, according to cycling expert Dave Moulton.

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About the Author

Eri Luxton holds a B.A. in liberal arts, an M.F.A. in creative writing, a first aid certification and a biomedical ethics certificate. She has worked as an English teacher overseas and as a local volunteer in first aid and in technology troubleshooting. Luxton mentors students in chemistry and physics while studying toward a pre-health sciences degree.