How to measure step length and stride length the easiest way

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With the popularity of minimalist running and so much attention given to forefoot striking on the ground, many people seek to track their cadence as well as stride and step length. Whether it is the length of the step or the stride, they are more crucial for a runner or walker. When it comes to gait analysis, step length and stride length are both crucial.

Most fitness lovers wear fitness smartwatches to track their distance, pace or speed, heart rate and count steps. In running exercises, knowing your pace per mile or kilometre is not enough, your strides and steps length determine how quick you finish the Mile.

That is why in fitness, if you are unaware, coaches carry out gait analysis to study a person’s walking and running motions (how they walk and run). They know that performance in walking and running has much to do with the length of the step,  stride and the rate.

In this article, we will guide you on how to measure step length and stride length. We will also discuss the importance of both measurements and whether any precise calculators are accessible online. Therefore, keep reading if you want to find out more about your step and stride.

how to measure step length walking and running


Why calculate your step length and stride length?

The advantages of stride and step length are many.  But before we go learn how to measure step length and stride length, let’s see how useful are this metrics.

Gait analysis is typically used to identify injuries or stop them from occurring. Most coaches analyse a player’s stride and step length to learn more about the athlete’s walking/running form and technique. This aids in performance improvement and shoe selection for the athlete.

Doctors also use stride length and step length to diagnose if a person has a problem with the gait. It is so awesome. Physical therapists use stride and step lengths to monitor the walking progress of their patients, who suffer from gait irregularities or other mobility problems.

What about growing your personal fitness level?. An entry level athlete has low a fitness level and would walk with pretty shorter steps at his best. Experts recommend beginner runners to train gradually, walking or running just 30minutes each day or go slow.

That means your pace will be lower and strides much shorter at the start.  After a week or two of continuously working out, you would have developed great leg muscles and the ability to go at a fast pace. With such a higher fitness level, you can be able to make frequent steps and longer strides.

The time you can take to walk 5 miles on treadmill is highly determined by your step,  stride length, and your stride frequency.

Most accurate fitness tracker or pedometer like the Fitbit, Garmin, Misfit,  Polar and Xiaomi can help track your steps. Yet, it us absolutely necessary that you learn how to measure your step length without these wearables.



What is step length?

The distance between the heel prints of one foot and the other is known as the step length. In simple terms, a step length is a distance of a single step you  make.

 We usually swing our legs as we walk or run.

  • Now, you start with both feet in one position.
  • You lift your right foot up and make a one step forward.

When both feet are all on the ground, your right foot is ahead of the left foot. The distance from the toe of your left foot to the toe of your right foot is the step length.

For walking, a woman typically moves 2.2 feet and a man typically moves 2.5 feet. The length of your steps varies based on your activities. You can specify various step lengths for running and walking with Footsteps.


What is a stride length?

In simple terms, a stride length is a distance of two steps travelled by your two legs. When you start walking or running, you can probably start with any foot(left or right).

  • Let us say you start by lifting and moving your right foot forward in a step.
  • When the right foot gets to the ground, you lift the left foot(still behind) and swing forward.

In a normal walk or run, the left foot will be place on the ground far ahead of your right foot. When your left leg and the right leg have each made one full step, you get your left foot ahead of the right one.

The distance you have covered in making the two steps so far, is called your stride length.

Related: How to walk 10000 steps per day on treadmill


Step length vs. stride length

The distance between one foot’s initial point of contact and the other foot’s initial point of contact is known as the step length. In a typical gait, right and left step lengths are comparable.

The length of a stride is the space between the final position of your left toe  and the starting position of the same left toe. Stride length is also the distance from the heel of your left foot(initial position) to the heel of the same left foot(final position)

Normal stride lengths for the right and left are equal.

You should grasp the distinction between step length and stride length measurements now that we’ve just explained them.

To clear up any confusion, stride length is two steps, whereas step length is one step.

So why is this important?

One of the biggest benefits for a runner can be achieved by changing their technique. This implies that you can improve your running efficiency by lengthening and accelerating your strides.

how to measure step length walking and running

Related: how many miles is 10000 steps?


How to measure step length with tape measure

Measuring step length is significantly simpler. Since it only involves one step, you can gauge its size by performing the following:

Put your feet together and step out.

  1. Draw a line across the left toe.
  2. Step forward with your left foot.
  3. Mark the left toe again, and then measure the distance between the two markings.
  4. Measure the step length in inches or read the step length in cm (centimetre) using a tape measure

This measurement is subject to frequent modification, as we have already described. The length of your steps can vary while you’re walking uphill, downhill, or off-road.

You can figure out how many steps you’ve taken with the aid of other equipment like pedometers. After that, you can calculate how far each step was using the data. A step length calculator is preferable to determine your step length if you are calculating in this manner.

Related: how much calories can you burn in walking 5000 steps?

 how to measure stride length with tape measure

This one would need a long walk distance to have an accurate stride length measurement. Use  a space that is within 100 feet to 500 feet spacious.

  1. Stand with your two feet the same position.
  2. Mark the position of the toes
  3. start by lifting and moving your right foot forward in a step.
  4. When the right foot gets to the ground, you lift the left foot and swing forward.
  5. Mark the position of the toe of your left foot.

In a normal walk or run, the left foot will be place on the ground far ahead of your right foot. The distance you have covered in making the two steps so far, is called your stride length. Use a tape or a ruler to measure the distance from the first mark to your left toe. It is your stride length.



How to measure steps length by step counting in a distance

While hiking, you can estimate distances by counting your steps, but first you must determine how far each step is. Utilize this short walk technique to determine the length of your step:

  1. On level ground, mark the start and the end of a 100-foot track with a tape measure or a piece of chalk.
  2. From one end of the route to the other, stroll normally from the first mark
  3. Keep track of your step as you walk towards and to reach the second mark,
  4. Determine the length of one step by dividing the that specific distance of 100 feet, by the total number of your natural walking foot steps.

Step length = Distance/number of steps

Your step length, for instance, would be 2 feet (24 inches) if you took 50 steps to cover 100 feet. Calculate a step length of 2 1/2 feet if you walked 40 steps.

You may calculate distances in the field by counting each step you take and then determine how far you have come by multiplying that number by the size of your step.

How to calculate your stride length by counting steps

Let us use another short walk to gauge stride length. To get a more accurate measure of your stride length,  you can count your steps in a much longer distance.

  • Outside your apartment, mark a point on the ground with chalk or an object
  • Walk on the straight path at leisurely or at natural pace until you’ve made 100 steps.
  • As you count the last step, mark the path at the tip of your toe
  • Use a tape to measure the distance between the two chalk marks.
  • Compute your stride length

Stride length = 2 * Distance/number of steps

To check your stride length, divide the distance by half the number of steps you made. That means, if you walked 100 steps, and covered a distance of 83 feet, you got to  double the distance and divide by 100.

There, your stride length will be 83*2/100  = 1.66 feet (about 20 inches)


Step length formula

step length = distance in feet/number of steps

Stride length formula

stride length = double distance in feet/number of strides


How to estimate step length by height.

Step length calculator by height. People have a different body frame. Your height is a particularly important factor to determine your stride length.

You will agree with me that tall people have longer step length than short people, so it is pretty easier to know an average step length or a woman or man knowing how tall they are.

Measure your height from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.

Use your height to calculate the length of your steps. This can give you a close approximation of your step length, even though it is less precise than some other techniques.

Here is how to compute step length by height in cm

I will give you one simple rule how to estimate your height from the length of their stride and vice versa. For all gender, the the ratio of a person’s stride length to their height is usually equal to 0.43.

Ratio = 0.43 = stride length / height

Stride length = 0.43 x height

For females : Simply multiply your height in cm by 0.413 if you’re a woman

For Males : Men would have to multiply their height in cm by 0.415.

Your step length in cm is determined by rounding the answer off to the next whole number.

The  average step length for 5’2 woman in cm is  = 0.413* 157.5 = 65 centimetres. The average step length for 5’4 woman (162.6cm tall) = 0.413*162.6 = 67cm.

Average stride length and average step length

The step and the stride length of an average person depends much on their height and sex, though there are many other factors. The average step length value for most average height men is 2.5 feet (30 inches) and 2.2 feet (26.4 inches) for females.

Since the average stride length is around twice the step length. The 2.5 feet step length would be approximately 5 feet (60 inches) stride length.

Don’t worry much, this estimation is not really perfect, but it gives a rough estimate if you don’t have an accurate stride length calculator. The only thing is you should have your actual height.



Stride length chart

Let us look at the average stride length for women and men of different heights. To simplify things, this table gives a rough estimate of your stride length by height.

Stride length by height

Height (feet)Male  stride length / inchesFemale stride length / inches

 Related: How long does it take to walk a mile on a treadmill? 


How to calculate step length with a pedometer?

Setting the step length correctly is crucial for a pedometer to estimate distance accurately. The distance between the heel prints of one foot and the other is known as the step length.

For walking, a woman typically moves 2.2 feet and a man typically moves 2.5 feet. The length of your steps varies based on your activities. You can specify various step lengths for running and walking with Footsteps.

The step length can be determined using many different techniques. The following is one of them:

Activate your footsteps.

Run or walk a predetermined distance. It is better to stroll for around a mile or kilometer. This will enable you to record your typical pace. On a shorter distance, you might be overly anxious to maintain the proper step length, which might affect your typical pace.

Divide the previously calculated distance by the number of steps once you’re done (read it from the first box in Footsteps). Don’t forget to adjust the measurement units as necessary. You can do this with the aid of the calculator below.

Related: the Best Fitness Tracker For Small Wrists?

How to measure step length with Garmin watch

When hiking, Garmin calculates your travel distance in addition to your step count. To calculate this, you usually multiply the number of steps you’ve taken by the length of your stride.

The good news is that you can change the length of your stride. Any wearable can be used for walking. Simply select Custom Stride Length in the smartphone app’s settings. The measurements can be manually entered into the available fields.

It’s also possible to modify the Custom Stride Length for running on devices that don’t utilize GPS to record runs. Run a practice mile while keeping track of your steps. There won’t be any math involved. This will be handled by the Garmin smartwatch. The app enables a maximum distance of 400 meters. In order to achieve more precision, try to stay within a short distance of this.

On the other hand, if you own a watch that can access a GPS signal, there is nothing you need to do. When you’re running, the device will calculate your step count and distance travelled using GPS readings.

How to measure stride length by sprinting

A study found that a sprinter’s stride length is about 1.14 to 1.17 times her height. But you can also track your number of steps while you run a predetermined distance.

Turn on your pedometer and select a distance, such as 100 meters (330 feet) or one mile (1.6 kilometres). The pedometer will automatically record your steps as you go.

For instance, you might need to take 112 steps to cover 100 meters (330 ft) and one mile (1.6 km) can be completed in roughly 2,000 steps.

How to set stride length for apple watch?

Apple watch is an advanced fitness tracking smartwatch every athlete dreams to wear. The health app can provide your step length, right from your wrist. If you don’t properly calibrate your apple watch, the step length in the health app may consistently record wrong distance traveled by your steps.

If your apple watch show wrong stride length, make sure you update your iPhone and apple watch to latest OS. Sometimes, you just have to reset your apple watch or iPhone by restarting it.

Apple watch knows how your arm movements relate to your stride lengths no matter the walking or running pace. They also compare their step data  with one collected from accelerometer with GPS location. The step length estimations is actually made in the Activity app and Workout app.

How does Apple measure step length then?

The fitness app in the Apple watch automatically records walking step length but is compatible with iPhone 8 or later.


How much Stride length running?

Ig you are an active runner, stride length and stride rate can improve your performance significantly. Most inexperience runners would tell you to reduce your stride length in order to cover more distance.

This may be true but not all times. For example, you can cover more distance running if you increase your stride length. There average stride length of marathon runner is about 4 feet 10 inches however, there is some limit as to how much the length of your strides can be increased.

If you forcefully increase the strides length too  much, your running performance becomes ineffective as that would place much stress on your leg muscles.

Moreover, longer strides turn to require more calorie burn or energy to sustain it. One fact remains, if you suffer from mobility problems, may be in your hip or knee, you won’t be able to add your stride without inefficiency in running techniques.

When your stride length can’t be increase any further, stride rate is the only possible factor that can make you to run faster.



factors that can impact stride length

Your height: taller people have lingered step and stride length

Your age: seniors would likely make baby step or shorter strides than active young adults

Leg injury/ Disease/illness: people with arthritis will not be able to walk with longer steps and stride length

Nature of terrain: strides and step lengths appear shorter when walking uphill and longer when walking downhill. The step length varies on an uneven terrain.

Type of Activity: walking requires shorter step lengths than jogging, while running makes lengthier strides and longer steps than jogging.

Gender: Men and women of the same body frame, height would obviously have slightly different step lengths. Men would likely have longer step and strides than women.

Fitness level: A marathon runner would make lengthy strides on a treadmill and an entry level person or trainee. As a beginner athlete walks every day, he improves his walking posture, step length, and strides as well.


Conclusion & FAQs

For best results, make sure you are on level, flat ground when you measure your stride. Sidewalks or running tracks are great!

Keep your head up high while running or jogging if you want to shorten your stride. Over time, perfecting your stride requires practice with good running technique.

You may easily find conversion tools online if you wish to determine your stride length in metric or imperial units.

How many steps/strides will it take me to walk a mile?

There are about 5282 feet per mile. The tricky thing here is to use your stride or step length in feet. If your step length is 2.5 feet, on average, you need about 2,113 steps to walk a mile. You will have to equally divide the number of feet per miles by your stride length, to know how many strides you can walk or run in a mile.

What is a normal step length?

An average person’s stride is between 2.1 and 2.5 feet long. Accordingly, it takes more than 2,000 steps to cover a mile, and 10,000 steps equals roughly 5 miles. A sedentary person might only take 1,000–3,000 steps each day on average. Increasing their step count has numerous health advantages for them.

What is my step length by height?

When you base it on your height, you receive a general, impersonal estimate of your stride length. However, there is a way to measure and estimate how long your stride length should be, or the typical step length for your height. It may be beneficial to confirm your results using alternative techniques. It is the process utilized in many pedometers and activity trackers’ automated settings:

How do you measure step length in cm?

To measure your step length in centimetres, you don’t have to calculate the distance in inches. Rather, use a tap with a cm scale to ease the math.

Your stride length can be calculated after you know the entire measurement in inches. There you convert the step length in inches centimetres.

For instance, if your stride distance is 18 in it is equivalent to 46 cm(1.5 feet or 0.46 m). The cm to inches conversion factor is  2.54 cm = 1 inch.

How many inches should step length be?

The typical walking step length for a person is 2.5 feet (30 inches), so the average stride length would be around 5 feet, according to the University of Iowa (60 inches). Height is just one of the variables that might affect stride length.

What is the average step length for 5’2 women in cm?

Fitness trackers often estimate distance using a pre-set stride length of 2.5 feet (30 inches) for males and 2.2 feet (26 inches) for women.

How to calculate stride frequency

The length and frequency of a sprinter’s strides affect their velocity. Sprinters can speed up by lengthening their strides, making their strides more frequent, or doing both. The equation below can be used to represent the relationship between these three performance metrics:

V = SL * SF

where SL = V/SF and SF = V/SL,

Stride length and stride rate, what is the difference?

When you run, your stride rate is the number of steps you take per minute, and your stride length is the space between each step.

How many strides are there in a yard?

One yard is equivalent to 0.6 strides.

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