Peer-Reviewed News

This information has been subjected to peer review and has been published in a recognized journal or periodical. This information contains relevant cites that pertain to footwear, tire or barefoot impression evidence. Other peer-reviewed information that may be indirectly related to the aforementioned forensic disciplines (e.g., legal or enhancement techniques), may also be posted here.

Survey of 1276 Shoeprint Impressions and Development of an Automatic Shoeprint Pattern Matching Facility

T.J. Hannigan, L.M. Fleury, R.B. Reilly, B.A. O’Mullane and P. deChazal. Survey of 1276 Shoeprint Impressions and Development of an Automatic Shoeprint Pattern Matching Facility. Science & Justice. 2006; 46 (2): 79-89.


1276 shoeprints were collected at a scientific exhibition. Details regarding the age groups of the participants, style, size and manufacturer/brand of their shoes were recorded. The impressions were assigned to pattern groups showing that the most common pattern was present in only 1% of the population studied and most patterns were much less common. The impressions were digitized and a system developed for automatically sorting a database of images of outsole patterns in response to a reference image. The database images are ranked so that those from the same pattern group as the reference shoeprint are likely to be at the start of the list. A database of 486 complete shoeprint images belonging to 142 pattern groups was established with each group containing two or more examples. Tests of the system have shown that the first-ranked database image belongs to the same pattern group as the reference image 60% of the time and that a correct match appears within the first 5% of the ranked images 88% of the time. The system has translational and rotational invariance so that the spatial positioning of the reference shoeprint images does not have to correspond with the spatial positioning of the shoeprint images of the database. The performance of the system for matching partial shoeprints was also determined.

The Documentation of a Large Outdoor Crime Scene with a Large Number of Footwear Impressions: Their Analysis and Comparison

LeMay, J. The Documentation of a Large Outdoor Crime Scene with a Large Number of Footwear Impressions: Their Analysis and Comparison. J. Forensic Ident. 2010; 60 (6): 738-747.


A large outdoor crime scene with 143 footwear impressions in a dirt and gravel driveway was documented using photographic and diagramming techniques. There were 22 known individuals who had entered the scene, potentially leaving footwear impressions. The author was able to associate 136 of the footwear impressions to the shoes of those 22 individuals. A color-coded diagram was produced to illustrate the locations of the footwear impressions at the crime scene and the shoes that could have made the impressions.

The Enhancement and Recovery of Footwear Marks Contaminated in Soil: A Feasibility Study

Croft, S, NicDaeid, N., Savage, K. A., Vallance, R., and Ramage, R. The Enhancement and Recovery of Footwear Marks Contaminated in Soil: A Feasibility Study. J. Forensic Ident. 2010; 60 (6): 718-737.


Little published research has been conducted on the chemical enhancement of soil-contaminated footwear marks. Investigations into the application, including the advantages and limitations of processes available for the enhancement of footwear marks in soil, were carried out as part of this study. This included a comparison of current enhancement solutions such as potassium thiocyanate, ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, potassium ferrocyanide, and bromophenol blue. The solutions were compared on the basis of sensitivity, sharpness of the color reaction, and their application to a range of commonly encountered substrates. The best-performing chemical enhancement technique for footwear impressions in soil was found to be potassium thiocyanate. Potassium thiocyanate was further explored to study the effects of aging the mark deposited as well as assessing the stability (shelf life) of the solution. The age of the mark appeared to have no significant effect on its ability to be chemically enhanced using potassium thiocyanate. The stability study of potassium thiocyanate revealed that, although aged solutions still enhanced footwear marks, background staining, fading, and deterioration in color sharpness were all observed.

Similarity and Clustering of Footwear Prints

Tang, Y., Srihari, S. N., & Kasiviswanathan, H. (2010). Similarity and Clustering of Footwear Prints," grc, pp.459-464, 2010 IEEE International Conference on Granular Computing, 2010


Research on footwear impression evidence has been gaining increasing importance in forensic science. Given a footwear impression at a crime scene, a key task is to find the closest match in a local/national database so as to determine footwear brand and model. This process is made faster if database prints are grouped into clusters of similar patterns. We describe a clustering approach based on common primitive patterns. Shape features consisting of lines, circles and ellipses are extracted from database prints using variations of the Hough transform. Then an attributed relational graph (ARG) is constructed for each known print, where each node is a primitive feature and each edge represents a spatial relation- ship between nodes. A footwear print distance (FPD) between ARGs is used as similarity measure. The FPD is computed between each known print and pre-determined patterns to form clusters. The use of the methodology is demonstrated with a large database of known prints.

ACE-V and the Scientific Method

Reznicek, M., Ruth, R. M., and Schilens, D. M. (2010). ACE-V and the Scientific Method. Journal of Forensic Identification, 60(1), 87-103.


The scientific method is a general approach for all hypothesis testing. Analysis, comparison, evaluation, and verification (ACE-V) is a scientific methodology that is part of the scientific method. Several publications have attempted to explain ACE-V as a scientific method or its role within the scientific method, but these attempts are either not comprehensive or not explicit. This article expands on these previous works and outlines the scientific method as a seven-step process. The scientific method is discussed using the premise of uniqueness, persistence, and classifiability. Each step of the scientific method is addressed specifically as it applies to friction ridge impression examination in casework. It is important for examiners to understand and apply the scientific method, including ACE-V and be able to articulate this method.