Piles have been used to transfer superstructure (bridges, buildings, etc.) loads to deeper competent bearing strata to minimize settlements. Accurate predictions of design settlements of vertically loaded piles under working load are a critical issue in the design of pile foundations. Numerous comprehensive trials, built on a regression-based predictive formula that produces the axial settlement using elastic shortening as the input variable, were performed in this study, and a simple relationship was established between the elastic shortening of piles and the measured design settlements of 93 full-scale pile load tests installed in variable bearing materials. The calculated axial settlements of piles from the proposed method in this study were compared to the measured axial settlements of the piles. Accuracy and validity of the proposed method were verified through conventional statistical analysis in terms of mean of bias (lambda(m)) and coefficient of variation (mu). The proposed method yielded values of lambda(m) = 1.06 and mu = 0.15. (C) 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers.