Altra Running posted a photo on their Facebook page showing an X-Ray image comparing foot shape in an Altra shoe vs. a narrow shoe with a pointed toebox (i.e., what most people typically wear all day). The difference is striking:
I contacted Altra to confirm that these were real X-Rays, and was told that they were, and that it’s the same person’s foot in two different shoes.
One of the things that many people who migrate into more anatomically shaped footwear report is that their feet seem to widen over time. Personally, I used to be a solid size 10 in nearly every shoe that I wore. Lately, however, I find myself bumping up more and more frequently into size 10.5 shoes to accommodate my forefoot. Has it really widened? Not sure and I don’t have measurements, but I’ve been in roomy shoes almost exclusively for several years now, and I don’t doubt in the least that footwear can influence foot shape through bony and soft tissue adaptation.
Personally, I’ve come to value flat footwear with a roomy toebox for all day use at home in the office (when I can’t be barefoot). Somewhat ironically, since experimenting with running shoes is what led me to this preference, the only time I can now tolerate a somewhat snug shoe is when I’m running. For example, I like a racing/speedwork shoe to fit a bit snug (not tight or toe squeezing, but to hug my foot closely) and to be a bit stiff. For the rest of my runs I like to mix things up, but generally prefer a roomier fit. For all day, flat and wide all the way.
Curious, if you’ve made the switch to wider shoes, have you noticed a change in foot shape?