One of my feet is bigger than the next… Wait, yours too? Yes this is actually not considered abnormal. For about 80% of persons with one foot larger, their bigger foot is their left foot. However, this does not mean that different sized shoes are needed. If one of your feet is half a size longer, or one width size bigger, you do not need to wear different sized shoes. Just fit the shoes to the larger foot.
If one of your feet is a full size longer than the other, it still is not a big enough difference for you to buy mismatched shoes. The difference between a full size is 1/3 of an inch, and the difference between widths is 1/8 of an inch. Please use discretion when deciding on the most comfortable and affordable choice for you. However, if your feet have more than 1 1/2 size in length difference, you will have to order mismatched shoes.
If your feet have two different widths, you may have to add or remove an insole to compensate for the lack of volume of the smaller foot. Insoles come in various thicknesses, and finding the appropriate insole to add to a shoe will depend on the difference of the two feet. If your feet have more than a 1 1/2 size difference, then getting mismatched shoes would be better for your feet’s health and protection. However, if money is a problem, you could try just fitting the shoes to the larger foot. You can buy insoles to take up room in the smaller foot’s shoe.
Is it normal for my feet to swell each afternoon?
When you wake up on mornings, usually your feet are fine. But by the afternoon period, they tend to swell a bit. In the afternoon and evenings, most people’s feet are a bit bigger. It is best not to buy shoes in the morning when your feet are smallest,or they may be too tight later in the day. The reason is that while you’re lying in bed, the fluid return works a bit better than when you’re standing. So as the day goes on, there is more fluid in your feet causing them to swell a bit.
For some people it’s very noticeable, for others hardly at all. It depends on how well your venous and lymphatic systems are working, general fitness, and various medical conditions. Everyone has different sized feet! Go ahead and take a look. Your two feet are not the same. Don’t believe me? Get out a pad of paper and trace your right foot and your left foot. Now measure the foot length and width. If your feet are a perfect pair, then count yourself in the minority!
Most people’s feet are close enough in size that they can get away with it; so go with the size of your bigger foot. It’s better to lace up a slightly loose shoe than to cram your bigger foot into a shoe that’s too tight. People can also have feet that are two different widths. If your feet are long and skinny, or short and broad, you may need to shop around a bit to find shoes that will properly complement your specific foot shape.
Factors that cause a change in foot size
Some people are simply born with feet that are two different sizes. Other people have feet or a foot that change size over time. Foot injury, especially if it occurs in childhood when the bones are still developing, may cause one foot to end up slightly smaller and weaker than the other. Anyone who has ever worn a cast for an extended period of time knows how quickly the surrounding muscles can shrink. Corrected foot deformities may also result in feet that are two different sizes.
A corrected clubfoot, for example, tends to be smaller and broader than the healthy foot. Feet also tend to lengthen with age as the arch gradually collapses (this is especially true for people with high arches), but they may not lengthen at the same rate. Athletes, who use one foot much more than the other, may find that the continual stress of the sport lengthens that foot overtime.
A solution to needing different sized shoes for each foot is using a shoe insert for the heel or Achilles tendon, to prevent issues where the loose shoe rubs or causes friction. Shoe snugs/hugs, at the end of the heel are another alternative. If the extra room down at the toe of the shoe bothers you, you can also stick one into the toe of the shoe. If the inserts don’t work for you, another solution is to buy two pairs of shoes.