Mar 6, 2011 at 11:21 am #1270116
I read about foot growth during long distance hikes.
Has anyone measured the width and length of their feet during the year or before and after a long hike? Quantitative data, instead of my boots got tight, would be useful to people purchasing shoes, especially if they have not been out for a while.
We are pretty much a three season hikers, so we starting the season with foot size measurements and see what happens during the year. I will try to remember to post a graph.Mar 6, 2011 at 11:52 am #1705117
Mike MBPL Member
sorry nothing to add a couple of additional questions- is the foot growth permanent? does multiple thru hikes make your foot bigger and bigger- or does one do the trick and then it stays that size?Mar 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm #1705187
> Has anyone measured the width and length of their feet during the year or before and after a long hike?
I think quite a few people have noticed that they have gone up 1/2 to 1 full size (or more) and at least one width (eg D to E or 2E etc) under these conditions. My wife and I have both gone from 8 or 9 EE to 10 4E over the last few years – and we are over 60. Not a 'growing up' thing by any means.
And yes, it is permanent. Whether it stops after one spurt – who knows?
CheersMar 7, 2011 at 9:46 am #1705514
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I think it's a great idea to measure (accurately) beforehand and check periodically. Catch is, my sense from talking with a lot of folks about this is that not everyone experiences this the same way.
Lots of theories (about mechanics of this, lots of rules of thumb, but I've never heard of anyone doing a specific and objective study.
Part of it might be that folks just get used to walking in different types and sizes of shoe. I am (or at least was) nominally a size 10 or so, but ever since my first thru-hike I just always wear size 11.5 shoes, whether at home or on trail. It's not that my feet have grown to be "size 11.5" — I think they have grown (permanently grown) a bit, but definitely not that much. I just like having that much space in my shoes now.Mar 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm #1705582
Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
My hunch–and it's just that–is extended hiking accelerates the general aging process of falling arches. And when arches fall, feet get longer–this is how I've "progressed" from 10.5 to 11.5. I don't think that's the only thing occurring with thru-hikers, however. There may be semi-permanent swelling as well.
I can't recall the last time I was in a store that sells shoes (as compared to a shoe store, which has become a rare species) that has shoe measuring thingies (which they all did when I was a kid). It usually goes like this: 1. look at shoe display. 2. Select models of interest. 3.a. Have salesperson fetch a pair of each in my usual size from "the back" or 3.b. Fetch pairs of interest myself off the racks. 4. Try on each for fit, inevitably adjusting size of certain models up and others, down because sizing is wildly non-standardized. 5. Rinse and repeat until selecting something. 6. Discover I've killed 90 minutes and vow to never again go shoe shopping.
RickMar 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm #1705665
> extended hiking accelerates the general aging process of falling arches.
Problem there. I'm 65 (done a bit of aging), and my arches have definitely NOT fallen. I guess my feet grew in length a bit, but they also got wider. General bone and tendon growth due to extended use?
Mind you, I do think it varies a bit (a lot) between people.
cheersMar 8, 2011 at 9:30 am #1706054
Piper S.BPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Here is an animated image of the change in one man's foot after taking up barefoot running. I believe the change is similar for people who take up long distance hiking. Most people wear shoes that are way too small normally. When long distance hiking you simply cannot go a long way and put up with small shoes. So you end up purchasing shoes that fit better which lets your foot expand as shown in this animation which then results in bigger feet. This is similar to what happened to me.
It's a really long link so copy and paste.
http://huaraches.googlegroups.com/web/LucBefore-AfterTransitioning.gif?gda=cGFdw1IAAAB3Kshz3zv3IPXa_rKJiwRvyAP3mSB5HLIIo9mjkoqFiPA82xR6aS-9yc4EfJK8mbWorDqcvLfqF8CluSDsp-ixVeLt2muIgCMmECKmxvZ2j4IeqPHHCwbz-gobneSjMyEMar 8, 2011 at 11:13 am #1706110
Eugene HollingsworthBPL Member
Roger – are you indicating that as we age more than just our ears and nose get larger? Nice to know.Mar 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm #1706231
@nathanmLocale: Bay Area
I've heard from some dancer friends that they have the reverse situation. Doing lots of pointe, etc., strengthens the muscles under their arches effectively making their foot sizes shrink, whereas their feet have "grown" when they've taken time off from dancing.Mar 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm #1706242
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Have a couple kids and be female. Your feet change for life with each one.Mar 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm #1706266
> are you indicating that as we age more than just our ears and nose get larger?
CheersMar 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm #1707536
Diane PinkersBPL Member
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
It doesn't just happen on long distance hikes. Going from pretty sedentary to walking on a treadmill weekly and hiking at least 4 times a month, my feet grew in size–I used to be an 8.5, now I wear 9.5. I attributed it to becoming more muscular, as my feet were getting used a lot more than they had been.
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