Our Feet Keep Getting Bigger - Why?

The most common shoe size among women today is a 38.5. Every shoe store has at least a dozen pairs of shoes of this size - but a new trend has emerged in recent years: shoe retailers have seen a significant increase in sales of larger sizes. We humans are getting bigger and heavier, and our feet grow with us. In the past, women with a shoe size 37 were considered to be larger than average and therefore had difficulties in finding comfortable shoes. This has now shifted and the line to "oversize" is drawn at 41-42. A study by the College of Podiatry recently found that our feet have increased by an average of two sizes over the past four decades. 

People get taller 

Scientific research shows that the average height of people in urban areas has increased by around 10 centimeters over the past 150 years. One indication of this is, for example, that most houses in the late 19th and 20th centuries had relatively low ceilings compared to today's houses and apartments. The changes in the average height vary from region to region. The cause of the increasing average size of the population is very diverse. One plausible explanation is that the overall increase in average height is due to a balanced diet and better living conditions. 

How are body and foot size related? 

Feet play an important role in maintaining our balance. Our feet are there to provide stability to the body. As mentioned, over the decades, both our average body size and foot size increased significantly. One explanation for this correlation is that feet also have to become longer and wider in order to compensate for and carry the greater body mass and size. 

Does excessive body weight affect our feet? 

Due to improper diets and lack of exercise, we attach love handles. Every person stores body fat differently, so that for some people they gain more fat on the belly, others on the legs. Overall as we gain weight, however, we put fat on everywhere, including on the ankles and feet. This leads to them becoming wider. Another consequence of weight gain is that our feet can become flatter and therefore longer, as the arch of the foot flattens out due to the additional weight from above. Flat feet are also a widespread pregnancy phenomenon, as we women experience significant weight gain at this time.  

Do our feet get wider with age? 

Many people have the experience that tight shoes, which in younger years still fit like a glove, suddenly no longer fit. One of the reasons for this is that tendons and ligaments in our feet tend to lose their elasticity as we age. Lack of elasticity causes the toes to spread and the arches of the foot to flatten, which can make the feet longer and wider. Not only does age affect the ligaments, it also causes the pads on the underside of our feet to thin. By thinning these pads, the feet absorb less shock, making them more sore and painful.
The more we humans grow on average and the bigger our feet get, the more we need shoes in larger sizes. This triggers shoe retailers to expand the range of sizes in their collections, making more large sizes available for purchase. It is important to measure feet from time to time to make sure you wear the correct shoes for your feet. If your favorite shoes suddenly cause pain or discomfort, it's time to invest in a new pair.
We hope this article was helpful to you! Health always comes first in life. It should be the same with our feet and how we deal with them. So, do yourself the favor of choosing suitable and fitting shoes. After all, we all want to be carried by our feet through life for a long time to come.
Lots of Love,
your Miyana Team

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