Factors associated with the development of hallux valgus (HV) are multifactorial and remain unclear. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to investigate characteristics of foot structure and footwear associated with HV.Electronic databases (Medline, Embase, and CINAHL) were searched to December 2010. Cross-sectional studies with a valid definition of HV and a non-HV comparison group were included. Two independent investigators quality rated all included papers. Effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated (standardized mean differences (SMDs) for continuous data and risk ratios (RRs) for dichotomous data). Where studies were homogeneous, pooling of SMDs was conducted using random effects models.A total of 37 papers (34 unique studies) were quality rated. After exclusion of studies without reported measurement reliability for associated factors, data were extracted and analysed from 16 studies reporting results for 45 different factors. Significant factors included: greater first intermetatarsal angle (pooled SMD = 1.5, CI: 0.88-2.1), longer first metatarsal (pooled SMD = 1.0, CI: 0.48-1.6), round first metatarsal head (RR: 3.1-5.4), and lateral sesamoid displacement (RR: 5.1-5.5). Results for clinical factors (e.g., first ray mobility, pes planus, footwear) were less conclusive regarding their association with HV.Although conclusions regarding causality cannot be made from cross-sectional studies, this systematic review highlights important factors to monitor in HV assessment and management. Further studies with rigorous methodology are warranted to investigate clinical factors associated with HV.