Forensic Footwear Evidence: Detection, Recovery and Examination, SECOND EDITION, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Forensic Footwear Evidence

Detection, Recovery and Examination, SECOND EDITION, 1st Edition

By William J. Bodziak

CRC Press

558 pages | 361 Color Illus.

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pub: 2016-07-26
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pub: 2017-12-19
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The utilization of footwear impression evidence continues to evolve with new materials, equipment and techniques, providing an increased ability to detect, record, enhance, and examine this form of evidence. Recently developed technology now allows investigators to more efficiently or, in some cases, instantly link multiple crime scenes where impressions have been produced by the same perpetrator.

Forensic Footwear Evidence covers a wide range of relevant topics, including historical references, general information about the formation and investigative use of footwear impressions, and the best practices and considerations that apply to the recovery, enhancement, and examination of this evidence. Drawing on the author’s 44 years of acquired knowledge and experience, it is the most comprehensive and authoritative text published to date on this topic. Highlighted topics covered within the book include

  • Three chapters covering footwear manufacturing
  • Shoe grading, sizing, and the forensic application of sizing information
  • Examination and reporting procedures
  • Casting impressions in snow
  • Barefoot evidence
  • Topics of interest for both prosecution and defense attorneys

The book includes more than 300 color photographs and illustrations throughout, as well as case examples that apply theoretical concepts to the real world. A single, complete reference on the subject, Forensic Footwear Evidence presents a wide range wealth of information that will serve as an invaluable reference to novice and experienced examiners, crime scene technicians, investigators, and prosecution and defense counselors alike.

Table of Contents

General Information about Footwear Evidence

Footwear Evidence Past and Present

What Footwear Impressions Contribute to Investigations

How Effectively is Impression Evidence Used?

The Formation of Footwear Impressions

Variations in Impression Detail

The Effect Recovery Methods Have on Detail

General Guidelines for the Recovery of Footwear Evidence

The Age of Impressions

The Scene of the Crime and Preservation of Evidence

General Search Methods

Gait Measurements

Key Points

Photographing Footwear Evidence

Cameras of the Past

The Digital Camera Emerges

The Camera and Its Resolution

File Format Choices

Storage and Management of Images

General Crime Scene Photography

Examination Quality Photography

Inversion Effect

Key Points

Casting Three-Dimensional Impressions

Why Make Casts?

From Plasters to Stones

Producing Plasters and Dental Stone from Gypsum

Water to Powder Ratio (W:P)


Dimensional Stability

Obtaining Dental Stone

Other Casting Materials

Premeasuring Dental Stone in Zip-Lock Bags

Preparing the Footwear Impression for Casting

Fixatives and Release Agents

Mixing Dental Stone in Zip-Lock Bags

Mixing Dental Stone in a Container

Pouring the Mixture

After You Pour the Cast

Lifting the Cast

Air-Drying the Cast

Cleaning the Cast

Shipping and Storing

Key Points

Recovering Impressions in Snow

About Snow

Photographing Snow Impressions

Highlighting and Coating Impressions to Increase Contrast

Snow Print Powder

Casting Methods and Materials


Key Points

Treatment and Lifting of Two-Dimensional Footwear Impressions

Types of Two-Dimensional Impressions

Why Lifting Can Be Complex

Electrostatic Lifting

Static Cling Film

Gelatin Lifters

Adhesive Lifters

Powdering Impressions

Lifting Impressions with Mikrosil

Lifting with Dental Stone

Indented Impressions on Paper

Key Points

Blunt Force Pattern Injuries

The Mechanics of Blunt Force Pattern Injuries

Relevance of Blunt Force Pattern Injuries

Replication Limitations and Accuracy

Recovering Blunt Force Pattern Evidence


Key Points

Enhancement of Footwear Impression Evidence

Forensic Photography and Specialized Lighting

Physical Methods

Using Chemical Reagents to Detect and/or Enhance Impressions

Chemical Reagents and Methods for Enhancement of Bloody Impressions

Effects of Reagents on DNA

Sequencing of Enhancement Techniques for Bloody Impressions

Using Alginate Materials to Lift Bloody Impressions

Chemical Reagents and Methods for Enhancement of Non-Blood Impressions

Digital Enhancement

Key Points

Sizing Feet and Footwear

Origins of Shoe Sizing

Shoe Sizing Systems

Shoe Size Conversion Charts

US Women’s Sizes

Mismated Feet

Measuring a Person’s Feet to Determine Shoe Size

Variations in the Physical Dimensions of Identically Sized Shoes

Determining What Size Shoe a Person Wears

Can a Person Wear an Extremely Different Size Shoe?

Determining Shoe Size Based Only On Heel-to-Toe Measurements

Grading Sizes during Shoe Design

Bell Curves and Size Distributions

Shoe Size and Stature

Determining Shoe Sizes of Worn or Degraded Footwear

Size Code Schedule

Key Points

Manufacturing: Producing and Texturing Molds

The World Footwear Market

Producing Outsole Molds

Industry Open and Proprietary Molds

The Addition of Texture to Mold Surfaces

Forensic Applications of Texture

An Unusual Case Application Regarding Texture

Assistance from Manufacturers and Other Sources

Key Points

Manufacturing: Molding Processes and Modification of Outsoles

The Compression-Molding Process

Mold Warp

Solid Compression Molded Outsoles

Microcellular Outsoles

Injection Molding

Open Pour Molding

Siped Outsoles


Key Points

Manufacturing: Cutting Outsoles from Sheet Stock

Die Cutting from Sheet Stock

Calendered Material

The Wellman Outsole Cutting Process

Assembling the Wellman Cut Calendered Outsoles

Variations in Wellman Cut Outsoles

Determining If a Shoe Outsole Is Molded or Cut

Key Points

Outsole Design and Dimension

Outsole Design

Physical Size of the Design

Design–Size Relationship

Texture on Outsoles in Relation to Design and Physical Size

Additional Design Aspects of Interest

What You Can Conclude from the Pair of Shoes You Are Examining

Forensic Significance of Design and Size

What Does "Design and Size" Mean to the Defense and Prosecution?

Are Any Shoes "One of a Kind" When New?

Classic Designs and Retro Designs

Counterfeits, Knockoffs, and Look-a-Likes

Similar Designs

Are the Shoes You Are Examining Counterfeits?

Determining Shoe Size from Impressions When No Shoes Are Recovered

Key Points

Evaluation of General Wear

Basic Principles Regarding Evaluation of General Wear

From New Soles to Worn Soles: Factors that Influence Outsole Wear

Differences in Wear between an Individual’s Shoes

Factors Affecting the Replication of General Wear Features

Examination of the Position and Degree of General Wear

Wear Patterns

Exclusions Based on General Wear

Is General Wear a Basis for Identification?

Extreme Wear Can Produce Randomly Acquired Characteristics

Are Shoes of Value for Comparison Months after the Crime?

Does General Wear Have Any Value When No Shoes Are Recovered?

Studies Concerning Wear

Key Points

Randomly Acquired Characteristics

Random and Randomly Acquired Characteristics

Examples of Randomly Acquired Characteristics (RACs)

The Weight or Value of Randomly Acquired Characteristics

Quantitative versus Qualitative Aspects

Confirmation as Random

Footwear Compared to "Points" on Fingerprints

Replication or Lack of Replication of Randomly Acquired Characteristics

Changes in Randomly Acquired Characteristics After Additional Wear

Chances of Another Shoe Having the Same Randomly Acquired Characteristic

How Many RACs Are Necessary for Identification?

Key Points

Known Footwear and Known Impression Standards

Elimination Impressions or Photographs

Examination Requires the Actual Shoes

Obtaining Known Shoes from a Suspect

Shoes of Additional Perpetrators

Shoeboxes, Receipts, Photographs and Other Options

Treatment of Seized Footwear

Documentation of Seized Footwear

Basic Information about Known Impressions

Methods of Producing Known Impressions

Two-Dimensional Known Impressions

Three-Dimensional Known Impressions

Methods Not Recommended

Key Points

Examination of Crime Scene Impressions with Known Footwear

Basis for Comparison

Fundamental Information

Equipment and Comparison Techniques

General Scientific Method

Subjective or Objective?

Method of Comparison

Range of Conclusions Scales

The SWGTREAD Range of Conclusions Standard

Identifications Involving Footwear

Contacting a Manufacturer for Sales and Distribution Information

Exclusion and Inclusion

Key Points

Written Reports and Court Testimony

Purpose of Reports

Report Writing Practices

Report Contents

Report Example

Written Conclusions

Additional Information or Statements Regarding Conclusions

The Footwear Examiner in Court

Pretrial Meetings

Last Minute Examinations

The Use of Demonstrable Aids

Key Points

Impressions of the Foot

Forensic Research

Nonforensic Research

The Human Foot

Recovery of Barefoot Evidence

Obtaining Known Standards

Examination Considerations

Examination of Naked or Sock-Clad Impressions

Association of Footwear with Feet

Estimating Height Based on Dimensions of Barefoot or Footwear Impressions

Those Who Conduct These Examinations

Key Points

Some Case Examples

A West Coast Homicide

A Controlled Population Class Characteristic Case

A Wellman Calendered Outsole Case

Bloody Heel Mark

Linoleum Latent Blood Mark

Random Cut or Something Else?

Topics Regarding The Prosecution and the Defense

Admissibility of Footwear Evidence in Court

Qualifications of the Footwear Expert

Unqualified Opinions of Nonexperts

Is a Qualified Expert Needed?

Relevance of Footwear Evidence

Scientific Conclusions and Opinions

Discovery and the Need for Independent Examination

Completeness and Integrity of Provided Photographic Images

Inadequately Recovered Evidence

Reasons to Retain an Expert

Working with the Defense


Forensic Organizations and Meetings

Working Groups for Shoe Print and Tire Tread Evidence

Publications and Forensic Journals


Forensic Footwear Databases


Labels and Date Information

Bar Codes

Website Resources

Materials and Supply Sources

About the Author

William J. Bodziak holds an MS in forensic science and has spent over 44 years in the field of footwear and tire evidence. He created the first technical conferences on footwear and tire evidence held in 1983 and 1984, taught the subsequent forensic footwear courses at the FBI Academy, and organized the first International Symposium on Footwear and Tire evidence at the FBI Academy in 1994. He has instructed classes in the forensic examination of footwear and tire evidence on over 150 occasions throughout the United States and in other countries and has provided testimony on over 500 occasions in the US, Canada, South Africa, Israel, Guam, Saipan, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. He has written three other books, several book chapters, and many journal articles. He has been an active member and participated in numerous professional organizations throughout his career.

About the Series

Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science