Why your shoe size changed as an adult

Why your shoe size changed as an adult

After you have gone through puberty, you probably think that your favorite pair of shoes will fit for a lifetime. However, shoe shopping may be in your future due to natural changes in your feet that occur with age and swelling from certain health conditions.

Natural aging

As you get older, the fat pads in the bottom of your feet become thinner due to wear and tear over the years.

“These fat pads start to lose their elasticity and volume with age, resulting in thinner and less protective foot padding,” explains Dr. Jesika Weigel, a podiatrist with Aurora Health Care. “This can make your feet more vulnerable to injuries, pain and deformities, and can affect your shoe size.”

Weight gain

The padding in your feet absorbs your body weight with each step you take, putting stress on the ligaments, bones and tendons in your feet. This naturally causes the foot’s shape to adapt to excess weight – often flattening and lengthening in size.


If you notice your feet no longer fitting in your pre-pregnancy shoes, that’s because your body is producing relaxin. The reproductive hormone is essential to childbirth since it relaxes your ligaments and allows your cervix to soften. However, when the ligaments in your feet relax, it causes your foot to flatten.


Arthritis can impact many joints in your body, including your feet. This results in swelling and sometimes discomfort walking.


Diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage caused by diabetes, can cause poor circulation to your extremities. This can result in swollen feet.

“Diabetes is a serious condition that can have many effects on your feet,” cautions Dr. Weigel. “If left untreated, neuropathy can increase the risk of infection, ulcers and, in severe cases, amputation.”

If you have noticed this change in your feet, it’s important to find proper fitting shoes to prevent injury and discomfort. Also, it’s important to check-in with your doctor to make sure there are no underlying health concerns.

Want to learn more about your risk for diabetes? Take a free online quiz.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is an external communications specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her bachelor's degree in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in health care public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.