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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    san francisco

    Question long mileage + pack weight = growing feet?

    two little questions for my helpful thru-hiker veterans:

    1) did your feet grow during your hike?

    2) i'm told to size up (some folks recommend by more than 1 full shoe size). i wanna avoid blisters, and don't wanna slide around, so... what would YOU do?

    i should mention that i'm 46 yrs old, and, for the last 3 years or so, i've hiked/ran almost every day on mountain trails, but the mileage is relatively low (usually about 5 miles). i've used primarily minimal shoes, but have recently switched to altra lone peak 2.5s in prep for a thru-hike. i think my foot has expanded already by at least a half size in the last few years because of the minimal shoes and the wide foot-bed of the altras.

  2. #2
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    state of confusion
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    Feet often get a bit bigger after age 20, and with time on them anyway, so its hard to say.

    Feet dont really grow, the bones end plates are hardened, they cant grow longer. However the feet do spread and get larger, by whatever mechanism, but its a soft tissue phenomena, not the bone.

    Your feet will swell after being on them 10 hrs a day every day, your shoes need to be able to accomodate that. This is the reason they need to be 1/2 size larger or so. Not just to anticipate growing feet.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  3. #3


    My feet grew just about 1 full size in the last 4-5 years, when I started doing some serious long distance hiking. Permanently. They don't shrink back after a long layoff (like this winter).

    I used to wear 9.5, now I need 10.5, plus I buy up another half size (11) for my hiking shoes.

  4. #4
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Honolulu, Hawaii


    I gained two sizes in my 40s when I started doing marathons. I'm assuming hiking will do the same thing.

  5. #5


    If you want to avoid blisters, you need a shoe which fits well and keeps your feet dry.

    It takes a while for the feet to "grow", so don't over size your shoes too soon or that will be a problem. A shoe which is too big is as bad as one too small. Your going to go through several pairs of shoes along the way (4 to 5 is typical). So just adjust the size if needed as you replace shoes.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
    Join Date
    Austin, TX


    I wore size 12 shoes. On my AT hike, I sized up to a 13 trail runner. I wore med-wt wool socks (no sock liner) & only had 1 blister on the hike (heel; 2 days after the first replacement pair on the trail).

    Now, some size 12 shoes fit okay & some are tight. I've got a traditional hiking boot that I can now longer wear.
    2013 AT Thru-hike: 3/21 to 8/19

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