Has anyone noticed their feet getting bigger as a result of running?

I don't mean expanding while running. I know that the running shop tells us to buy a size larger shoes than our normal shoes as our feet expand while running as they get hot. I dont mean that.

My shoe size has been 7 since I was in my early 20s, I'm now 52. When I bought my last pair of ordinary shoes after having been running for six months or so I found that I needed size 8. I put this down to shoe size designations changing a bit. But then when I bought my new running shoes on saturday I was surprised to find that I needed size 9, wheras my Brooks Ghost7s are size 8.5.

My weight hasnt changed significantly so I dont think that that is the reason.

It could just be that the shoe size designations are changing, but I'm wondering, because my normal shoes are starting to feel a bit snug.

I'd be interested to know if anyone else has had similar experiences :)

31 Replies

  • How bizarre ! Cant say Ive noticed so far ,Zev ! :-) xxx

  • I used to wear 11s, then started buying 12s when the 11s were feeling a bit tight. I definately need 12s for running shoes, and just bought some brooks adrenaline in 13. So yes, feet do seem to spread a bit as you get older.

  • aha, should have guessed, it's not the running, it's just me getting old :D

  • Don't say that! I've always had boats and struggled getting nice shoes! This 50yr old doesn't want bigger feet!

  • I have noticed that my naturally high arches that I have had all my life are a little more flattened than they ever have been. So not necessarily bigger just fatter. Story of my life 😃.

  • Well now - I had been wondering about posting the same question. Not that I am having to buy bigger sizes but I do feel my feet have recently got a lot wider - same as Realfoodieclub I suppose but the arches are the same. Maybe it is age and we're all on the way to tartan slippers with zips up the front.

  • Sexy!

  • Ha ha yes AR , with the red bobbly pom poms on the front ! :-D xxx

  • Oh gawd ;)

  • Conjuring up a vision of dozing near the fire, steaming cups of tea, plaid blankets and tartan slippers ;)

  • That's a perfectly normal Saturday night for me Paola !

    Rock n'Roll :-) xxx

  • add a book and it's mine too :)

  • and a pooch or two ! :-) xx

  • I have little doubt that shoes vary from brand to brand. My recent visit to Sweatshop for running shoes confirmed this. I am a 5 in my regular walk to the shop Sketchers but in Sweatshop we started trying running shoes on at a 6 and there were some styles where a size 7 was a better fit.

    Earlier in the year, when it was hot I bought a pair of walking boots in size 6 and when I began to wear them I regretted not having bought a size 7. Tried them on the other day, now it is cooler, and they were fine. So, in addition to brand, temperature is also a factor for me.

    Finding this an interesting question I just googled, "How do feet change with age? and apparently they do spread and widen, one source even suggested that they even lengthen. Here is a jolly little read:


    Moving and guarding against the abnormal changes will hopefully delay the day that we will be wearing slippers described by ancientrunner and poppypug! On a more serious note though, we must not give into vanity and should buy the size our feet deserve!

  • Now you say that yes, I have noticed in recent years mine have got a half size bigger, have had a few problems with tightness when having bought shoes & Boots..👟👞

  • haven't noticed either sorry Zev

  • Clearly you are not old enough yet Rob for your feet to get bigger :)

  • haha if only that were true , I am still waiting for the shrinking part of old age ;)

  • My out-laws said that to me yesterday, 'are you starting to shrink?'

    I thought they meant my weight at first but NO!

    I actually had to mark my height on the doorway to check.

    Blinkin' cheek!

  • Widening shouldn't change your shoe size. Or at least your "main shoe size". The shoe shops keep quiet about this, but actually there are two dimensions to a shoe size: length, and width. I suppose to avoid carrying extra stock, they just hide the fact that you ought to be able to choose your width, but really, in an expensive item of kit like trainers, you ought to be able to have your shoe fitted in both dimensions, shouldn't you?

    So I have a pair of Newtons which say they are UK 9.5's (which sizes we followed here at least until the 90's). That would be half a size up in length from the oversize shoes I used to buy to make up for having a wide foot all my life. They make no mention of their width, but the website mentioned at least whether shoes were "standard" or "wide" fit. They are sold in South Africa by a certain Zola Budd, you might remember.

    Then I have a pair of New Balance 470's (I seem to recall), which I just lucked out on in a shoe shop. They claim to be UK size 10 (and are about half a toe longer than my foot), and on the top of the label, very inconspicuously, stand the letters "2E". The manufacturer isn't bragging about this (I suppose to help shoe salesfolk to sell wide shoes to people with narrow feet), but what it means is that New Balance quietly offers wide foot options. 2E is for a VERY wide foot - which I now realise I don't have. I would probably fit more exactly into an E width shoe, where most people would be D width. I love those shoes. I keep telling myself to go and get the rest of the stock in the store before it runs out, even. If you wear a D shoe on an E foot, it feels so tight that you feel like your foot must be extremely wide to scrunch up so much in a normal shoe, and a size 2E is the ultimate luxury if you don't mind losing a bit of support.

    So next time the shoe shop tries to fob off a long shoe on you to accommodate a wide foot, maybe you should ask them to measure your width, and to instead just supply you with the wider version of the correct length shoe. Especially if they do this to you after your having your gait analysed and so on, you have reason to object.

    Hmm ... as for the feet swelling? The Newtons are a little bit tight, but they have never hurt me. I don't know why, precisely, but I think it's because the upper is just there to keep the sole under your foot. It has quite a bit of give in it, once you've adjusted the laces. Even across the width of my foot, in spite of being tight, they never hurt. So the idea that you need to accommodate swelling is also something I have to be skeptical of. If you strap things up tightly enough, they simply don't swell. I mean if you wear a compression sock (slightly similar situation?) your way of dealing with the swelling of your ankles is to resist it. Presumably the effect is simply less swelling, rather than any circulation problems, otherwise people wouldn't use these?

    Edit: I completely forgot about the "growing feet" question. Well I wear bigger number shoes these days, too. All my grown life I wore between 8 and 9's. Then at some point that switched to 10's to 11's. I suspect it's just that the shoe manufacturers fiddled the new sizes to ensure that the average man would be a size 10. That just sounds bigger and more important. I don't know how they've done with womens feet. Looks like for some of you, bigger sounding feet are not a bonus. I very much doubt that my feet are growing (much, anyway; it isn't long bone, and I think a lot is flat bone, which grows throughout your life, so maybe there's some of that?)

  • Wow, thanks for the detailed response gary_bart that is interesting stuff :)

    Makes me want to go have my feet measured, though I'm not sure if anyone still does that these days.

    I come from Northamptonshire originally, so I should know all about shoes I guess, but sadly I do not.

  • You can measure your feet, yourself. I'll go and see if I can find the link, but just google for it, and it should come up. There's a very direct relationship between the "length size" and your foot length. No snazzy formulas, just a table. I'll post another reply if I find one of the foot measuring pages.

    Edit: here's one of those foot measuring pages, just to get you started.


  • Cobblers !

    Ha ha , sorry Zev, couldnt resist that ! :-D :-D :-D xxx

  • Yes, the local football team :)

  • Yes , Northampton Town ! :-) xxx

  • Clarks sell adult and toddler foot gauges if you want to measure yourself.

  • Bizarre. My feet grew a size with both my pregnancies, but they shrank back again afterwards. There's no sign of them growing again due to running so far but you never know.....

  • Before having my first baby I would often find size 3 too large. Post 2 pregnancies I'm more like a 3.5 and 6 years after the last they still haven't gone back. Given I'm only in my late 30s I've put this down to pregnancy rather than age. Buying running shoes in a size 4 makes me feel like I have grown up feet for the first time ever ☺ if they do grow due to running I'd be delighted. Although I suppose the bargain shoes I get now would stop!!!

  • Running shoes are definitely sized differently! I'm normally a 4 but my latest Adidas are 7s!

  • good grief, that is a huge difference :D

  • Since I moved from Italy to Ireland my feet got bigger... maybe it's the rain? ;)

    The only shoes I find consistent are Birkenstock - 39 in 1990 - 39 today... - and often Italian shoes, but here is often a 40 - 40.5 (not to mention my latest pair of Mizuno in a size 8!!!

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