Welcome to Tread Forensics

/Tread Forensics is a website dedicated to providing footwear and tire resources to the forensic community. The site went live in April 2017 and was created to perpetuate the online resources available at SWGTREAD.org.

The Scientific Working Group for Shoeprint and Tire Tread Evidence (SWGTREAD) was created in 2004 by the FBI Laboratory to standardize and advance the forensic analysis of footwear and tire impression evidence. The first meeting took place in September 2004 and the last in March 2013. From 2004 to 2013, the working group was co-funded by the FBI and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). However, In October 2014, the Footwear and Tire Subcommittee of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) was created. At that point, SWGTREAD decided to discontinue its operations and focus its efforts on supporting the subcommittee; however, the OSAC subcommittee identified the latest versions of the SWGTREAD standards as the baseline documents that best reflect the current state of the practice of forensic footwear and tire analysis and thus re-published them on the subcommittee's website.

Seven different sandy soils were utilized to create three-dimensional footwear impressions from two left athletic shoes (Saucony and New Balance). The two shoes had been previously worn and then additional randomly acquired characteristics of various shapes and sizes were added to the outsoles. The footwear impressions were photographed (using examination-quality photographic techniques) and cast with dental stone. The resulting photographs and casts were compared to the shoes, and the randomly acquired characteristics present were noted. The casts retained more randomly acquired characteristics than did the photographs in the footwear impressions in all of the sandy soils and from both shoes. This research concluded that casts should be collected whenever possible in addition to examination-quality photographs to provide the footwear examiner with the best evidence possible.