Demand for extra large shoes is on the increase. In the last 40 years, the average shoe size for a British male has risen from a size 8 to a size 10. So what is prompting this growth in foot size?
According to the College of Podiatry, there are two factors behind the increase. Firstly, our bodies are getting heavier and with all that extra weight, it’s not surprising that our feet are spreading. A poll of 2,000 British adults found that more than 60% of men and women had found that their feet had got bigger over the years. That’s because when you gain weight, your feet splay to accommodate the increased pressure.
The second factor is that we are simply starting out bigger from childhood. A richer diet increases growth and brings earlier puberty, boosting growth further. The more that children eat, the more their growth hormone is stimulated, so they put on extra height. In more recent decades, childhood obesity has become a problem. Children's foot bones are soft and supple, and while they are growing, can spread under excess weight. If the bones are still forming and an overweight child is putting their weight on them, the arch tends to flatten which makes the foot longer.