Your feet take you everywhere in life.
So if you've ever wondered what determines your foot size, here's the “best foot forward,” thanks to the opinion of a podiatric medicine doctor and more.
Read on to learn the facts about why people have different shoe sizes.
What determines foot size?
There are several different factors that determine foot size.
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“Genetics plays a role in this,” Timothy J. Miller, DPM, FACFAS, a podiatrist at Sunshine Ankle and Foot Experts in Orlando, Florida, told Fox News Digital.
However, this “is not the only determining factor”, he added. “Your lifestyle, including medical history, shoe choices, activity level and injury history, all play a role in determining the size and shape of your feet.”
Are there characteristics that come from a specific parent in relation to foot size?
There are no specific characteristics of a particular parent when it comes to foot size, but Miller said the size of your parents' feet is a good indication of what your foot size will be.
Still, keep in mind that science is not conclusive regarding which traits are passed from parent to child, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Your “phenotype” is the expression of your genes in determining your physical and mental characteristics — while your “genotype” (your genetic makeup) is the specific characteristics you inherit from each parent, Miller said.
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“Even if you have a genotype that is 50% your mother and 50% your father, the phenotype is the expression of those genes. This is why you can look like one parent over the other, even if your genotype is evenly split,” Miller said.
What else affects foot size?
Additionally, there are surprising factors that can also influence foot size.
“People who go predominantly barefoot tend to have larger feet due to adaptation,” Miller noted.
Regarding your medical history, illnesses that affect muscles, tendons and ligaments can cause your feet to grow or stay smaller, he said.
And injuries can be the cause of larger-than-normal feet, Miller said.
“Fractures and dislocations can change the shape of bones and joints, causing feet to have a different shape and size,” he said.
Does weight affect foot size?
Yes, weight affects the size of your foot.
“The more you weigh, the more stress and strain your feet, ankles and legs suffer,” Miller highlighted.
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Because of this, your muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments must adapt and become stronger to support your weight, he said.
“Typically, the more you weigh, the bigger your feet can get,” he added. However, there is a limit.
“Your feet won't grow as quickly as they did in childhood, but it's typical to wear shoes 1/2 to a size larger,” Miller said.
Does gender affect shoe size?
Miller indicated that men generally have longer feet due to the higher level of growth hormones and testosterone when compared to women.
He also reported that “women typically have wider feet due to adaptation in different shoes.”
Our feet are getting bigger
In the US, the average shoe size is getting bigger and bigger.
Thirty years ago, the most popular shoe sizes for men and women were 9.5 and 7.5, respectively, Healthline said.
Today, the most common shoe sizes are 10.5 for men and 8.5 for women, Healthline also said.
“This may be related to the increase in overweight and obese individuals,” said the same source.
So make sure you are regularly in shape to wear shoes.
To make sure you are providing the best nutrition, it is important to have an annual foot health exam.
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Your doctor can identify conditions like diabetes or circulatory problems by looking at your feet, or treat common problems like calluses, cracked skin and ingrown toenails, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Staying active is also always a good strategy for your feet.
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Foot-friendly activities like walking, cycling or swimming keep your feet healthy and your blood flowing.
Be sure to check with a healthcare professional about which activities are best for you and which activities you should avoid, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For more lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.