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I've looked around a bit and noticed that, while many people are asking about what a digitigrade biped would look like and how it might evolve, I haven't seen anything specifically about humans. If there is and I just missed it, I apologize in advance.

So, what do I mean by digitigrade humans? Well, in the setting I've been working on, the elves were originally a tribe of humans who live in the southeast areas of the continent I'm working on (the climate is mostly mediterranean). For one reason or another, one of the gods decided he was going to take this tribe and modify them. Although he used magic/divine fiat to accomplish this, it's important that their physiology remains completely functional without the interference of magic. One of these modifications is to give them a digitigrade gait, essentially causing them to walk tiptoed.

The average elf stands somewhat shorter than a man, and their build is thinner and leaner. Say the average elf male is somewhere around 5'6" and 150lbs. Culturally, they tend to be much more reserved than humans, and are often described as haughty or snobby. They are very concerned with the wellbeing of elf-kind as a whole, and are known to wage semi-genocidal wars of conquest from time to time against their human neighbors to the north.

Considering that the elf is lighter and shorter than a human, and the general environment in which he lives, what would the advantages and disadvantages of a digitigrade posture be over a plantigrade one? Furthermore, I'm also interested in how such a posture might affect their fighting styles, preferred weapons, clothing and armor, construction and agriculture techniques (looking at Classical to High Medieval technology, give or take), etc.

Thanks in advance for your answers!

Edit: to those marking this as a duplicate, I’m not asking about a digitigrade humanoid (which to me seemed to encompass any sort of creature with a humanoid form). I’m looking specifically at actual humans (with pointed ears, but otherwise still H. sapiens) in particular. I was thinking the two were distinct concerns, as the former allows quite a bit of wiggle room.


marked as duplicate by L.Dutch, Tim B II, nzaman, Secespitus, Mołot Jun 22 '18 at 7:53

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    $\begingroup$ As a 5'7" 135lb human male I am going to pretend to be insulted by the description "lighter and shorter." I generally have no trouble with digitigrade locomotion though so you might be on to something. $\endgroup$ – Asher Jun 22 '18 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ So you effectively have a tribe of ballet dancers? $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jun 22 '18 at 5:30
  • $\begingroup$ nzaman: no? The entire length of the toe makes contact with the ground. As far as I know, ballet dancers only touch the ground with the very tips. $\endgroup$ – Horik Jun 23 '18 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ Asher: I’ve always heard that the average man was 5’10” and 180lbs. Whether that’s true or not, I dunno, never looked it up. $\endgroup$ – Horik Jun 23 '18 at 3:41

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