Questions & Answers

Feet changing


I've heard that feet can change due to barefoot running. Has this happened to anyone? Feet getting shorter or toes splaying wider. There are some very interesting / disturbing photos in this article and I'd like to believe I can get my feet to look like the feet of the never shod guy.



Answers and Replies


My feet are definitely wider...but I can't say how much is from just getting older, as opposed to my minimalist leanings of late.

I can't even say if "your feet get bigger as you age" is even TRUE or not, now that I think about it!


Hi Niki,

My feet have changed from going barefoot the last few years, but not that dramatically. I've noticed these things mainly:

-soles have thickened, mainly around the ball of foot outside of arch, and heel (also on the toes). I don't have any callouses, but it feels like a thick leather. -feet have widened slightly. I haven't measured, but I would assume somewhere around 1/2" (1+ cm) -from the widening, my toes are also slightly more spaced apart. I remember them being squished together, though not as bad as the photo provided, but that's no longer so. -also, my arches have also lifted. Again, it's not a dramatic change, but visually noticeable and I can feel the difference significantly in how I walk. I also notice this quite a bit when I wear conventional footwear.

I think the basic structure of your feet are determined by your genetics (nature) and how your live while still growing and your bones are developing (nurture). Once you're fully grown and feet fully developed, there's probably a little bit of physical change that you can initiate through lifestyle changes, but most of us will have limited possibilities because of how we grew up.


My experience has been similar to John's. I went from having two big toes with accompanying flippers a year ago to having five toes on each foot with a lot more dexterity. I drew an outline and took measurements back a year ago and will be be remeasuring at on the anniversary. I'll have more info then. I wish I would have done something similar to what Damien posted, the animated gif. I have lots of pictures, so I still might be able to work something like that out.


Interesting transformation Damien! His feet actually LOOK a lot healthier and more youthful in the latter photo.


It's very common for dancers to develop widely-splayed toes. I guess that might not apply to those who wear high heels when they dance, or to those who wear ballet-shoes (which have to be quite tight).

I'm sure that my toes splayed much wider after I started dancing bare-foot professionally (late twenties) than when I was in my early twenties.


The same pictures led me to get a pair of 'Correct Toes'. Toes spread apart so that the angles between the toes are the same as between the metatarsals is what evolution has adapted the rest of the foot and body to work with. This will increase your stability and likely reduce chance of injury according to the designer, an podiatrist.

I'm happy with mine so far, 9 months.

More info:

Nice vid on benefit of correct 1st toe position: (late sound)

Best wishes, Erik


My feet have grown longer and significantly wider. At 20, I wore 10 D; 10 years later, I wear 11-11.5 4E. Some increased length seemed to be happening on its own, but my feet didn't start to get wider until I began doing a lot of walking in non-constricting footwear or barefoot. 10.5 to 11.5 and 2E to 4E has occured over the last 12 months.

Kind of sucks, because most minimalist footwear outside of sandals don't fit wide feet very well- maybe when everyone else catches up there will be more options for me. :)


OH great WIDER feet? I may never fit shoes again. LOL I have been only doing this a few months but the other day I sat down and noticed the tops of my feet were different looking. Part was do to them being more square, I do not taper like most feet but there was something different about the rest of the foot I can't put into words. I went back to regular shoes for two days while I was away from home and those shoes do not fit properly now. Probably what has happened at this point is the feet have regained feeling at contact points so that "normal" shoes are not comfortable anymore. WOW a closet full of shoes that don't fit some Salvation Army store is going be lucky.


Howdy Folks!

Newbie here. Um, I've been going minimalist for several years now (wore the VFF Classics in 2005) but only recently was aware of the changes in my feet. My girlfriend commented on their muscularity, and how she wished she knew me a few years back so she could use me for her anatomy classes (LOL). I do notice the ability to spread my toes considerably, which I couldn't do before. I have not gone fully barefoot yet but run in Vibrams 9-12 months out of the year. This year was the first full year of Vibrams, and I hope to continue this and get to barefoot soon. I saw Dr. Mark Cucuzzella's youtube post and was in awe. Also, my shoe size has not changed, but I think as I add miles (currently about 20 mpw) they will strengthen and grow.



My feet have also got longer since I started wearing barefoot shoes! I thought my big toenail needed cutting, because my right big toe was digging into the front of the shoe recently (my feet are slightly different in length). But when I got home - nope, the nail doesn't need cutting!


Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I have never been able to fit into typical women's fashion shoes so I've always either worn comfortable shoes or men's shoes. But after I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail my feet got a lot wider. I wore shoes 3 sizes bigger than usual. I had to throw out most of my old shoes. My feet were bigger, wider, thicker, longer. They've shrunk some since they aren't so swollen and muscular and the skin's not so thick anymore, but they are still wide with big spreads between the toes. I don't know if the separation between the toes continues to grow, but it might. I just can't stand shoes that are tight anymore. I can't even stand shoes that are snug. They have to be loose and floppy almost.


Wow Piper that is exactly hoe I feel now floppy or nothing. I bought my first ever pair of flip flops because all the other sandals had that wide strap that just feels too tight. To do the grass trimming I have to wear something protective so I have been using my Rocklit 288's. They are loose enough around the foot so feel fine that way but after 4 hours of working on slopes and over rough terrain the muscles of my feet are very sore. If I sit for half an hour I can barley walk. Well wouldn't you know it but a guest at one of the cottages needed a bag a of wood. Well for the first time ever I can say my feet were so sore I only wanted to go barefoot. Almost a contradiction eh. But even flip flops require some muscle action in the toes and my feet just wanted to be loose and relaxed. I am already scouting my winter options because I know that is not going to come easily. May have to be mukluks.

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