It’s not only women who need wide fitting footwear. Men also suffer from common foot problems such as swelling, hammer toes and bunions. And according to the College of Podiatry, men’s feet are getting broader as well as longer, increasing by an average of two sizes over the past four decades. Today, the average male wears a UK size 10 compared with a size 8 shoe 40 years ago.
One of reasons behind this change it that our bodies are getting bigger and with that extra weight to carry, it is not surprising that feet are spreading. A poll of 2,000 British adults conducted by the college found that more than 60 per cent of men said their feet had got wider over the years.
That’s because increased weight gain places more pressure on the feet and means ligaments and joints need to work harder to maintain the foot's structure and keep you mobile. Over time if someone is gaining weight, the feet splay to try and accommodate the increased pressure, which can cause pain, lead to mobility issues and increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis in the lower limb joints.
In the study carried out by the College of Podiatry, more than a third of men admitted buying shoes that didn't fit properly. Shoes with a narrow "toe box," the industry term for the front part of the shoe, can push the big toe in and create or accelerate a bunion so it’s important to wear shoes with enough room to accommodate feet comfortably.