Products and Shorter Legged People

Having slightly shorter legs than most as does everyone else in my family and much of my extended family, it seems we are disadvantaged by product designs as well as have needs that are often discounted or missed in tests of various products.

I’ll introduce this with two categories.

Trousers are an obvious one when they are sold pre-hemmed. Not many 28 or 29 or 30 lengths get ordered, sell quickly, and the end-of-season sales are filled with 34s and longer. Getting a hem done is only $10-15, but.

While sitting at my computer I not so fondly remember shopping for the chair I am sitting on. It is just a basic office style with adjustable height, but most office chairs go w.a.y high but not much low, putting unnecessary pressure on one’s ‘shorter leg’ thighs. This one is better suited than most, but it would be so fine if it lowered another 20mm. It went lower than any other I could find. A foot rest device alleviates it at the trade-off of usability and convenience, but.

Is this a personal rant or a problem others face. It took me decades to identify the problem is me and my short legs rather than buyers who buy pre-hemmed clothes in the quantities and sizes they buy in. Then the shoe dropped about chairs.

There must be other things. Anyone?


The same if not more applies to those endowed with long legs. For long legged varietied, there is also transportation seating (cars, buses, trains, aircraft etc)…which seems to cater for the average built Joe/Jane.

Normally long legs means long arms…and sleeve length can also be an issue…that being not long enough.


Yes, being of average build I can personally blame Colin Chapman for my semi crouched stoop. Anyone not blessed with his short frame but well acquainted with his early vehicles has a unique understanding of the Lotus Position.

Me thinks you fortunate. :wink:

I might suggest the same of other well known more everyday motor vehicles including several versions of the Landrover Defender. Not that I would single those less tall to be amongst it’s admirers any more than others. In the past the Italians and French seemed to have a love affair with close and crouching drivers positions. At least nearly all modern vehicles have adjustable seats and two way adjustable steering columns to cater for most preferences in driving position.


Europa S2 and a Super 7 (circa 1970-ish). The wife said I could buy another of the same anytime I want if I could get in and back out. The owners I approached told me if I couldn’t get back out I bought it. Stalemate.

Back to topic, I think tall people get more publicity because they do not fit but shorter people and those with normal or long torsos but shorter legs are overlooked because we ‘fit’ just not comfortably and sometimes not in a healthy manner.

My electric seat is a beauty. Too bad for me when it gets into the correct for me driving position the external mirrors become useless :expressionless:


Not just office/computer chairs but chairs in general. Even if the height is OK (or adjustable) the seat depth is often too long. The result is the vertically challenged sit back to get lumbar support but have their feet off the floor or sit forward to touch the floor and get no back support. Neither is comfortable or good for your body in the long term. A suitable foot rest can solve the problem as with ones legs extended one doesn’t have the pressure behind the knees pulling you forward and can get back to have lumbar support and feet on the rest don’t need to touch the floor.

The problem with standard chairs is not so acute for longshanked persons as they can have their legs out in front and still get back support and touch the floor, having the seat too short for them is not ideal but less of a problem than too long.

Trying to get mass production lower/smaller lounge chairs is very difficult and custom built is way too pricey.

I do understand why furniture has to be standardised to a degree to keep prices down and for many purposes it isn’t such a big deal unless you are well beyond 2SD from the mean. But why cannot good furniture makers have (say) three sizes, short, standard and long? They can still be mass produced and I think people would happily pay a premium for real comfort and spinal health $$$ but as it the premium for custom made is outrageous.

$$$ Bad backs are very prevalent and a huge cost to society.


You would also need to ask those who being born female are on average of slighter build why their average is not so well catered for. Household fitouts and furniture is a compromise.

Most of our locally sold product originates from Asia. Interestingly, many things used there locally seem to be one size too small or too low or … They may have mastered producing products in different scales to suit their market needs. And in the supermarkets I recollect being mostly able to nearly see across the tops of the shelving units. No product stacked too high for any local to reach.

Elan S4 DHC and one of those less exciting (handling excepted) MG Midgets. I nearly purchased a Europa, however I did find a way to exit when they informed me of the price.


Know it well - 143cm - 4’ 7" - Can’t reach above bench kitchen cupboards, or products on higher shelves. When I was single I sawed the legs off my chairs and table to suit me, but then in my 50’s I married Mr Z - over 6’ tall, broad shouldered; who got rid of them. He built a table that is way higher than ergonomically suitable for me. A trip to the Physio for shoulder complaints - cured with a high chair to get me at the correct level.

We both have our problems. I am still in children’s size shoes (which don’t last), shirts, trousers are all too long. I can sew, because I have to alter nearly everything I buy off the hook. He finds shirts that fit his shoulders are then a tent on his body and hang down too low, but he can get leg length right. He hates the lack of leg room in my Corolla and I have cushions to get me up and forward to drive.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet puts you on a calorie level based on weight & exercise, unfortunately the lowest level is too high so I have to make manual adjustments to 75% - 80%. I was turned down for a job once because they assessed my standing height was insufficient at the counter. I didn’t have a hope of applying for Police, Defence Forces, Airline Hostie and a lot of other jobs with official (and unofficial) height restrictions.

If I was still single I would be remodelling my kitchen to suit my height, lowering power points and getting a higher ladder. I swore I would never marry a tall man, but love is blind and all my logic and planning went out the window.


My mother had her last kitchen built with two different bench heights. My father had no say in that detail!

Getting safely to the over bench cupboards off a short step ladder seems high risk. Warehousing and stores use a railed platform set to the required height so that you are not at risk of falling while using both hands to lift items on and off shelves. It is worth while looking past the ubiquitous flimsy metal step ladders/stools and ensuring adequate aisle width. Or insisting on the regular presence of a 6’+ tall handling device for such tasks. I know how our kitchen functions. I now put very little on the upper shelves to ensure a happier life.


Yes and that is pretty well unavoidable unless you are very wealthy.

There are possibilities though for mitigation and adjustment but these are rarely taken. When I built the kitchen I checked that the bench height was going to suit the major cook. Not everybody can DIY but it isn’t hard to mention this to the installer if you think of it at the time. It depends on the design of your benches but some situations, such as those on a HMR plinth, can be lowered a few centimetres with a few minutes work at the time of installation. A good installer should hand cut the plinths to accommodate variations in the floor to keep the benches level and contiguous in any case. Benches on adjustable legs can be raised or lowered several centimetres. If they were truly polished installers would ask you and measure you as part of the service. Doesn’t happen.

Why all the fuss, it’s just a bench? A workbench too high will give you shoulder strain as you lift your arms too much, too low and you get lower back strain as you lean over to get down. Do this for hours a day and you get chronic pain and possibly damage.