Encyclopedia of Biometrics

2009 Edition
| Editors: Stan Z. Li, Anil Jain

Footwear Recognition

  • Maria Pavlou
  • Nigel M. Allinson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-73003-5_42



Footwear recognition is the process of acquiring, identifying, and verifying the marks of the outsole (underside) patterns of a shoe. These marks arise as a result of the normal use of footwear in many conditions and environments. Footwear recognition can be used by the police and other law enforcement agencies in the identification of crime suspects.


Although footwear recognition in a strict sense is not a biometric, it does provide a very useful source of intelligence and potential evidence in the application of forensics for policing and security. As shoes are fairly personal items of apparel with usually an extended period of ownership by their wearer, they could be termed a “near-biometric.” Similar to latent fingerprints,  footwear marks are very frequently left behind on surfaces at crime scenes [1]; and they can be more commonly recovered than fingerprints for some crime categories. A number of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Pavlou
    • 1
  • Nigel M. Allinson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK