Comparing questioned footwear impressions to known footwear (shoes, boots & sandals) is a forensic discipline that has been utilized for many years. This powerful evidence could place an individual at the scene of a crime. Part of the manufacturing process of footwear involves the creation of an outsole design (that on the bottom of the footwear). Footwear that share the same outsole design are referred to as having the same class characteristics. Another class characteristic is the size of the footwear.
As footwear is worn, damage such as nicks, cuts and holes may be randomly added to the outsole creating individual characteristics, which are unique to that footwear. When a person enters, proceeds through or departs an area, such as a crime scene, an impression may be left. If discovered at a crime scene, this questioned impression can be documented, collected and subsequently compared to known footwear. A conclusion of the resulting comparison can be rendered that associates a questioned footwear impression as having been made by a particular known shoe, boot or sandal.
FoCoSS Forensics has IAI Certified Footwear Examiners who can conduct independent footwear examinations or conduct re-examinations of prior comparisons for accurate findings. We can also offer assistance by evaluating the crime scene processing techniques used for developing, documenting and preserving questioned footwear impressions in a particular case. Multiple identified footwear impressions from a crime scene can also provide additional information regarding the movements of individuals within a particular that area.