chapter  1
25 Pages

General Information about Footwear Evidence

ByWilliam J. Bodziak

Humans have been making important observations and conclusions about impressions of feet and shoes as long as they have existed and certainly way before records were kept. The investigative value of footwear evidence is greatest during the first hours of the investigation. Digital photographs revealing the sole design of an impression recovered from a scene can be a great asset to investigators when interviewing suspects or witnesses and conducting searches. Although the use of footwear evidence has been in practice and accepted in court as far as written records can be found, not all law enforcement agencies give this form of evidence the emphasis they should. Some agencies in the US actively recover forensic evidence from all scenes of crime including repeatable offenses such as burglaries. Two-dimensional footwear impressions are most often a result of the transfer of materials acquired by the shoe during prior steps that are redeposited to the substrate in the form of what is known as a transfer impression.