In my lifetime, I have worn so many different sizes. In my closet, at this very moment, are clothes that cover a range of numbers. I fit in everything from an 8 to a 12, depending on the brand, article of clothing and personal preference of fit. I have been in both 00 and 18, both of which were unhealthy for my body. Thing is, labels are on the inside, and while people could guess the size of another person’s clothes if they were feeling up to it
At almost 42, I’ve really stopped paying attention to any kind of perceived value to those numbers and goes with what fits and (hopefully) with what flatters my figure.
That being said, there is one number I never thought to worry about: my (running) shoe size.
The other day, I read a post on social media about a woman who had her first official fitting for a pair of running shoes. It was a great experience, except for the part where they measured her and found she would need two and a half sizes larger than what she was currently wearing. She left the store without purchasing shoes, and made some fairly unflattering comments about “large” shoe sizes in the process.
I remember customers like this from my time working in a running store. Usually it was woman in their 60s or older (although sometimes men of the same age), who were absolutely adamant that I was reading the Brannock device incorrectly, and that all the shoes I showed them in the size on which they insisted were made poorly because they were (shockingly) too small. It baffled me that they were more interested in an arbitrary number on the inside of the tongue of a shoe than in a comfortable and supportive fit.
In the industry, the recommendation is to wear running shoes a half size to a full size larger than the measurement of the foot. Obviously, this depends on brand and model, but it’s the generally accepted rule of thumb in the running community. There are outliers in people who prefer a more snug fit, but traditionally, you want a shoe with some wiggle room for toes and space for swelling. The shoe shouldn’t rub or lift off easily, but it should be
I have never given much thought to my feet. They are attached to the ends of my legs, and I guess I like them well enough. They move me from place to place, balance me, ground me. They’re doing their thing competently enough and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the point.
I’m about 5’10” tall. I will never be mistaken for “dainty”. I think my smallest adult shoe size has been 8.5, but as the years pass and I’ve experienced aging, pregnancy, postpartum and even more aging, my feet have grown. In regular shoes, I wear a 9.5 or 10, and in running shoes, a 10.5. I never thought it was a bad thing, mostly because I have no control over the size of my feet. They just kind of are. I don’t feel beastly or lumbering, and the size of a well-fitting shoe would never be a determining factor in a purchase for me.
Heck, I barely even worry about color. If I need shoes and they feel fabulous, I get them.
The obsession with foot size is puzzling. What difference does it make how large (or small) one’s feet are, so long as they are doing their job? Is a size or shape out of your control cause for shame or embarrassment?
So tell me, does your shoe size bother you?
What’s the benefit to having smaller feet?