This question already has an answer here:

We humans are plantigrades. That means our feet rest flat on the ground. We have large, bony heels to make sure that our flat feet stay supported under our vertical legs.

But among mammals is another popular method of support--digitigrade, meaning that the animal walks on its digits, or toes, and keeps the rest of its feet off the ground. Our closest picture of a digitigrade human is a ballerina:

enter image description here

The only problem is that even the most experienced ballerinas can't keep to the tips of their toes for long. But what if they could? The most obvious thing would be to reduce or eliminate the heel, as a large ball of bone would not be necessary if the majority of the foot is off the ground. What advantages would standing on tiptoe bring to the human species as opposed to putting the feet completely flat on the ground?


marked as duplicate by Aify, JBH, L.Dutch, sphennings, Andon Jan 30 '18 at 4:27

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A ballerina is not walking like a digitigrade. A person walking like a digitigrade would simply be someone walking like they're wearing heels, without actually wearing the heels - in other words, their toes are still flat along the ground. The picture you have posted, claiming it as a digitigrade example, is equivalent to an actual digitigrade walking on the tips of their claws, not their toes. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jan 30 '18 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ "A digitigrade...is an animal that stands or walks on its digits, or toes." $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Jan 30 '18 at 3:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you search for the word "digitigrade", you'll find this kind of question has been asked many times and in many ways before. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 30 '18 at 3:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ None of which focused on HUMANS but instead human-OIDS. Two different things. $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Jan 30 '18 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ The picture you have posted is of a human walking on the tips of its toes, not on its toes. Big difference. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jan 30 '18 at 4:26

What advantages would standing on tiptoe bring to the human species as opposed to putting the feet completely flat on the ground?


If we stay bipedal then there is no advantage that outweighs the many disadvantages in todays World.

One small advantage is we may have horny hoof type feet and not require shoes.

  • $\begingroup$ This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 30 '18 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ It answers the question directly $\endgroup$ – Kilisi Jan 30 '18 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ it would answer better if you could expand it a bit more. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 30 '18 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ make up your mind mate, first it doesn't, now it does but not the way you want... $\endgroup$ – Kilisi Jan 30 '18 at 6:17
  • $\begingroup$ The prefilled review lines do not give room to literary attempts. What you see is the standard line for " this a comment, not an answer" $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 30 '18 at 7:04

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.