View Full Version : Foot enlargement?

05-19-2005, 23:49
I'm planning to thru-hike the AT next year. I figure my current boots will wear out less than half-way so I've been looking for a new pair. My thinking was to buy new boots this year so I could break them in and they would be ready when I needed them. However, I've read journals by a couple of thru-hikers who said their feet permanently increased in size during the hike. Is this typical? I'd hate to buy and break in new boots and then discover they were too small when I needed them. Would I be better off waiting until my current boots wear out before buying new ones? Or am I concerned about nothing? It's not like I'm a growing boy. At my age, people start shrinking. :)

05-20-2005, 07:48
Your feet may or may not change. It seems to be a very individual thing. It may also have something to do with age but I don't know for sure. What I do know is that I wore a size 9 regular width until I hiked the AT. Post AT I wear a 11 EE.

05-20-2005, 08:42
Foot enlargement is not a "given". A lot of hikers experience either one, the other or both of the following conditions: Swelling and Elongation. The swelling results from the foot being trapped in rigid and tight footwear and exposed to heavy use. This effect comes and goes during a hike but will totally subside with elevation of the foot and occasional NSAID intake. The elongation effect results from a settling of the foot arch brought about by the combination of an unsupported foot arch and the carrying of large loads. Using a quality footbed with ample arch support will help to minimize or prevent this from happening.

AT 2003

05-20-2005, 10:53
There's really no telling if your feet will enlarge or not beforehand. They may, thay may not. Best advise would be to buy a new pair when you need them and take it easy for a few days while you break them in. When I got new boots in Damascus (the first pair I was using has a manufacturers defect, and they replaced for free... second pair lasted me till the end of the trail!) I hung out in town (Damascus, you know :) ) a few days. I got them wet each morning and wore them around town. It was uncomfortable, but it softened up the leather to mold to my feet. Then when on the trail, I would wear the boots in the morning, and my Teva's in the afternoon. Worked pretty well. By the end of the week I was back in boots 100% of the time.

Also, if you're using fabric & leather boots, break in time will be a lot less. Of course, they wear out quicker too because of that.

05-20-2005, 20:48
i dont know about foot enlargement,i do know what its like for my feet to hurt like hell:cool: neo

05-21-2005, 11:05
Just from doing Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania last year, my feet went from a 10 to an 11. And I am a city boy who hates public transit, so I have always walked a lot. I'm glad that when I tried on boots for the above hike, I wore two pair of thick wool socks, because by the end of the hike I needed only one pair of socks.
I would much rather have boots a tad too big than too small. One should be able to wriggle one's toes.

05-21-2005, 15:16
This thread isn't very comforting for someone starting out with size 15s.

05-22-2005, 01:42
Palmer -- I'm not far behind. Look on the bright side. That means fewer pounds per square inch. :)

While an increase in foot size may not be "typical," it doesn't sound unusual either. I think I'm going to wait and see what happens before I buy new boots.

05-22-2005, 04:16
With hard to fit feet, I decided to cover. One pair almost scuffed up on ice. One pair to wear. Will see what happens. Watch, I'll stumble across the motherlode of wide shoes. Now if I could stop stashing socks. I like socks. Its a Maine thing. Some people would complain about socks for Christmas, not this yahoo.