worn out running shoes versus new running shoes that fit

Do Your Feet Get Smaller When You Lose Weight?

Questions I never asked before losing weight: can my feet shrink? Do your feet get smaller when you lose weight?

Afterward, though, I realized that when you lose weight, your body changes in ways you’ve never even considered. Like…your feet shrinking. Did you know feet can shrink? I didn’t. But they absolutely do!

Your feet themselves aren’t going to change structurally. You’re not going to get longer feet or different toes. But the fat around them will disappear, making them a bit less wide and thick. This means that you will, 100%, need to wear smaller shoes.

At least, if you lose a considerable amount of weight. And it’s weird. As you lose, it brings up issues that affect the way you dress and groom yourself. Never in my life had I ever bought smaller shoes to replace old ones. My feet had never shrunk before. Like I said, it’s weird!

Relearning what kinds of clothes and such I needed was one of the biggest changes as I went from 310 pounds to 155. For some reason, I didn’t even think about my feet losing weight when I basically excised a whole other person off my body. Never once crossed my mind. This revelation is especially important for runners.

Proper Running Shoe Fit is Everything

And since your feet can shrink as you lose weight, and you’re running to get the weight off…your running shoe size will change. And if you’re not careful, you can injure yourself very easily.

You expect shirts to get looser and baggier the smaller you get. Pants, too. After all, pant size is the go-to detail in those before/after photos — a person standing inside a too-large pair of pants, pulling the waist taut. You probably even expect your double-chins to shrink and give you a more pronounced jaw and neckline. And they will. It’s kind of awesome.

Heck, your fingers and wrists will shrink, reducing your ring, watch, and bracelet sizes. I expected these. Even had to get a new wedding band because mine is made out of tungsten and can’t be resized.

You will notice these changes yourself, and other people will notice some of them. But what really got me was that feet do lose weight. No one really tells you that with massive weight loss, every single inch of your body shrinks.

Realizing that your feet can shrink was not only the biggest surprise in losing weight, but it was also one of the most painful. I was getting blisters on my feet, pain shooting up through my legs and knees as I ran, even some hip issues because of how I had to alter my gait to run in the too-large shoes.

For a Hobbit, I have nice feet. They’re short, thick, hairy, and wide. After my weight loss, I my feet shrank from a size 12 to a size 9(ish), overall. With a stop at 10.5 in the middle there.

Even now, nearly a decade later, I don’t really know what size of running shoe I wear. I know my range, and it varies between makes, models, and types of shoes.

For years, I wore a 10 4E (that’s extra-wide) in my Asics Gel-Nimbus running shoes, but I’ve been told that’s far too big for me, too. I don’t believe those people. In Altras and Converse, I tend to wear a 9 or 9.5. New Balance 860 is a 9 2E (just wide, not extra). And in Brooks Glycerin and Hoka One One Bondi and Arahi, I wear a straight-up 10.

It’s weird, y’all. The fit changes a bit by each shoe and brand, but that just means I get to experiment with more running shoes. So that’s a plus.

How I Learned Not to Wear Running Shoes That Are Too Big

So first of all…don’t wear shoes that are too big. They hurt. Bad. And they can lead to major injuries.

I have always worn shoes for entirely too long. I had no idea that you needed to replace shoes (especially running shoes) as often as you do.

When my feet first lost weight, most of my shoes slipped up and down more than they did before, obviously. But I kept wearing them. It was gradual enough that despite getting blisters and sore feet and knees, I just kept wearing those beat-up Skechers in the featured image. Both for everyday wear and running.

Which is also a no-no. Have a pair (or two, if possible) of running shoes that are for running only. Then also be sure to have sneakers or retired runners that are your daily wears. (You can wear old running shoes a lot longer as ordinary sneakers than you can while running because of the difference in stress you put on them.)

As I started really running, the blisters got worse. So did the foot and knee pain. It wasn’t the normal fat-guy-running pain. This was an all-new, all-different kind of pain. And when I finally did buy my first pair of real running shoes, they were a size and a half smaller than my old shoes. And the soles weren’t destroyed, there was cushioning, and they didn’t slip around and blister my feet. It was truly amazing.

And since then, I’ve sized down even further. Because once I realized that it was the weight loss that made my feet shrink, the fix was easy: buy smaller shoes. But it took me a long time to realize what was going on.

TL;DR: Can Your Feet Shrink? YES.

As you go through weight loss, your feet can get smaller. You can lose weight in your feet. Your feet do shrink. So buy smaller shoes immediately, especially if you’re a runner, because your shoe size will change when you lose weight.

We all tend to forget that our daily lives and overall well-being are affected by the soles of our feet a whole heck of a lot more than the size of our biceps.

As you’ve lost weight or become more fit, have you noticed any unexpected changes in your body?




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  1. badaza

    Wait, what?

    “Work shoes, casual shoes, and running shoes (and for each kind, you’ll need some for winter and for summer and in different colors to match various suits and outfits…that’s a ton of moola!)”

    Work and casual shoes can be had in neutral colors (black comes to mind, maybe another neutral paler color, medium brown?) and running shoes shouldn’t have to fit your outfit, they’re running shoes for God’s sake! Who cares if your running shoes fit your outfit that day?

    Work shoes: 1 pair black plus, maybe, 1 pair medium brown
    Casual shoes: 1 pair black plus maybe 1 pair medium brown
    Running shoes: 1 pair.

    Now, depending on how much you walk in each pair and how much the proper fit is important in your profession, I’d change the shoes in the following order:
    Running shoes
    1 pair work shoes
    1 pair casual shoes
    The rest.

    Oh, there’s seasons, right? Here (in Quebec), it means a pair of boots for outside and you change in your other shoes once at work. So, at least 4 pairs, max 6 pairs. I’ve worked with approximately that many pair of shoes all of my life and I’m of the gender people always expect to have dozens of shoes. Heck, I won more bras than shoes!

    • badaza

      own, not won!

    • B.J. Keeton

      Well, for me, like you said, there are black and brown dress shoes. Then, I have a pair of black dress boots that go with most outfits and that I can wear on cold/wet days. The color also escapes me at the moment, but most men who wear suits have the red-brown shoes, too.
      As far as running shoes go, you’re definitely right about color. I really do need some seasonal ones, though. My Nimbus 13s are phenomenal but in the wet, they’re useless, and the cold is pretty rough on them, too. I would adore having some winter running shoes that are more substantial.

      As for casual, a single pair of sneakers just isn’t enough if you ask me. Most guys wear cross-trainers as casual shoes, but in all honesty, that shouldn’t work. Having one pair of Converse All-stars, a wardrobe does not make. Even if you aren’t matching colors for sneakers, having a couple pairs that you don’t wear to run in is pretty noticeable. I also like to have a pair of middle-grade shoes that can dress up a pair of dark jeans enough to wear a button down with them, too. For me, that pair is the dress boots, but half-boots in black and brown really open up accessorizing options.

      All that said, though, I am the kind of guy who changed from my work sneakers into half-boots before going to grad classes just so my wife (wasn’t my wife at that point) wouldn’t see men in dirty tennis shoes.

    • Chelsea

      Badaza, I realize this comment is incredibly old, but just for any other readers reading this in 2022, you should 100% have more than one pair of running shoes and you should rotate them. Studies have actually shown that people who own more than one pair of running shoes and who rotate them have less injuries than people who only own one pair of running shoes. I personally have two pairs of running shoes that I rotate and another pair of sneakers that I wear for “casual” reasons. Obviously, if you can’t afford more than one pair, that’s fine, but if you can and you are serious about running, you should have more than one pair of running shoes. And lots of people like buying shoes, so shaming them for that is hella weird. You’re not special for being “not like other girls”, ma’am.

  2. Theresa

    Hi, I am a new subscriber from Friday Fitness. I just love this post! My feet have shrunk half a size! I started laughing when I was trying on shoes a few weeks ago. I never would have thought that they would do that!! Have a great weekend!

    • B.J. Keeton

      It’s a crazy feeling, isn’t it? I could barely believe it!

  3. Toad Phillips

    Well this explains why my feet and hands are getting sore really easily. There’s no fat padding for the impact. I just noticed how scrawny my hands look and why working with tools has been killing me lately. Must be the weight I’ve lost. Hopefully “everything” didn’t lose weight.

  4. Caitlin Wickliffe

    I have nice feet for a gollum!! They have been even worse since I gained weight. So happy to find out it isn’t just me. I was wondering cause my shoe hurt me. Now I realize I just need to lose the weight.


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You can also hear more of Beej on the Dragon Quest FM podcast every Friday morning!

He also has some really awesome sci-fi and fantasy novels that you should totally buy.


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