Do you really need a wide fit shoe?
Most people believe that they have had the same shoe size since their teenage years. While it’s true that the foot does grow rapidly until teenage years, it’s a misconception that the feet remain unchanged from there onwards. In fact, the foot size, shape and structure can change over time due to wear-and-tear, overuse, hormonal changes, injury, shoe choice, and genetics.
In our experience of making custom orthotics for podiatry issues, we see many clients that regard themselves as having wide feet. In some cases this is true, but with the industry commonly making shoes wider as shoe size has gone up because people of today are, on average, two shoe sizes larger than the people of the 1970s. According to a study released by the College of Podiatry' in the UK. Sizes 12 and 13 (US) are the most common shoe sizes sold at Long Tall Sally, with size 15 now making up 10% of business. Thirty years ago, Stuart Weitzman used to sell most shoes in size 7, with sizes going as high as 10; today, they sell an 8 on average, and offer sizes up to 12. “We’ve all gotten taller and we need big feet to hold us up,” consulting podiatrist Emma Supple explained to the Wall Street Journal.
But not all shoe sales people are correct in this field; as a person in a sports shop somewhere would have said “oh you have wide feet, you need this type of shoe” that would have stuck with the client for years and would have never questioned it. It is always good to have your podiatry checked as the feet will change over time.
A common podiatry issue we see is over pronation which can cause a low or collapsed arch also resulting in a wide foot shape. This is where an orthotic fitted into a normal shoe, rather than a wider stance or bigger sized shoe. In a natural foot position the foot will be rotated so the foot becomes narrower, this will help the dynamics of your posture and any imbalances in the posture will start to correct themselves.
In conclusion, before you set off to buy your new set of shoes, pop in for a foot consultation and see what is going to be best for you, whether it is for your cycling running or work shoes.