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Reader Poll: Is One of Your Feet Bigger Than the Other?

One foot bigger than the other

My right foot is about a half size larger than my left foot. This occasionally causes me problems when sizing winter hiking boots or trail shoes, so I go to great lengths to find shoes that fit right and stockpile multiple pairs, since shoe manufacturers keep changing their shoe models.  Still, I am lucky that  my feet only differ by a half size and I can use a thicker sock or different lacing techniques to make my smaller foot more secure in a shoe that is a wee bit big for it.

Having one foot that is larger than another is extremely common. The human body does not grow or develop symmetrically – hence we have a stronger hand, a dominant arm, a longer leg, and so on.  Even so, you’d figure that some smart shoe manufacturer or footware retailer would be willing to just sell you a right shoe or a left shoe, or let you mix sizes within the same style so you get a perfect fit. Footware marketers take note. 

If one of your feet is larger than the other, the “experts” say that you should buy shoes that fit the larger foot. But what about those people whose right and left feet differ by a full size or more?  I think there are more people like this out there than we realize.

What about you?

Is one of your feet larger than the other?

How do you buy hiking shoes or adjust shoe fit so you can hike in them?


  1. Yup, by about a 1/4 size. ‘Das from suckin’ on it when it’s in my mouth.

  2. Nope, they’re both the same thank goodness.

    Take Care

  3. Someone should start a website where instead of online dating it’s an online shoe matching… just sayin.

  4. My shoes are 4 sizes apart. Nordstrom miraculously sells the two sizes for the price of one, so this hasn’t been a huge problem for me. I suppose the have a minimum difference before they offer this service, but I do not know what it is.

    However, purchasing specialty climbing, cycling, hiking shoes can be a bit more expensive as I usually end up buying two pairs.

  5. My left foot is bigger than my right (I’m right handed though).
    Probably not even a half-size bigger, but it’s noticeable enough when trying shoes — it can feel fine on my left but swim on my right.

    My bigger problem with shoes is width, my feet are narrow and this limits the choices. Keen is almost out of the question, Vasque tends to fit best for me.

    It’s another reason when buying hiking boots to go to someplace, get a salesperson who really knows the footwear and how it fits. This is not a trivial investment, especially if you’re going for a $220 leather boot.

  6. Phil,
    This is a somewhat timely posting. I was reading your review of the Mountain Hardware Ascent gaiters a while back and was considering them. I noticed you said that they recommended the large size for you boots but that you went with the medium.
    I am now considering ordering a pair so I tried to find what size you wear in your footwear reviews. I found one where you mentioned size 10.5 and another where you mentioned a size 9.5. Your posting opened up an opportunity to ask …. what size boot do you wear with your gaiters?
    I wear size 10 and size 10.5 (depends on the manufacturer). I am of a small build and I think medium would be best for my calf size. I am not sure if they would be OK for a pac boot or a Keen Summit County boot. What’s your opinion? (I know trying them on with the boots is best but it is a bit difficult at the moment).

    • I wear between a 9.5 and an 11 depending on the manufacturer and type of shoe/boot. I’d order a medium and a large from REI and just return the one that doesn’t fit. That’s presuming you have a store where you can pick them up.

      • Thanks Philip. I’m in a situation where I can only order one at a time.
        You mentioned you wear a size medium gaiter and that Mountain Hardware recommended a size large. Did you stick with a medium or go with the large? If you stayed with a medium, does it fit your size 11 boot? Sorry for all the questions and to get this back on subject……my left foot is larger than my right foot.
        Thanks again.

  7. My left is a little bigger than my right. But I also measured my shoes (nominally the same size) and the left is a little bigger than the right as well. (they’re old and may have stretched – but i think they’re made that way).

    Of course, it would be worse if my right were bigger than my left and the shoes were the other way around.

    (That actually might be the problem for my wife – who has great difficulty finding shoes/boots that fit)

  8. My left foot is about half a size bigger than my right. I notice it the most when I have to buy climbing shoes – the extra room in the right foot makes for sloppy performance, but fitting the left foot too tightly is just miserable! Making sure everything is as adjustable as possible helps to mitigate the size difference. I don’t notice it as much in hiking boots, but i have had to lace my right boot a little differently sometimes. I’ve thought of wearing different socks (thinner on the left, thicker on the right), but have never actually done it.

    I love Christie’s idea of a shoe exchange. :D

  9. One foot here is more Sasquatch than the other, but it’s only about a half size and I can’t remember which one it is. I have so many other aches and pains that I rarely notice my feet, however, I think it would be a good idea for manufacturers to offer the choice at a reasonable price for those who really need two sizes of shoe. Yes, it would cause some inventory headaches, but it is a small percentage of the market and if they’ve sold the left size 11 shoe, they have a right one in stock for someone who might need it.

  10. My right foot is a little longer than the left, and my left foot is a little wider than the right. Not so much that I can’t manage to fit both feet in the same size, fortunately.

  11. Apparently, there is a scheme for people that only have one foot. They’re matched up with people that only have the other foot in the same size, and then they can share buying shoes. It would be a bit more complicated finding someone with the same two sizes of feet though.

    One of my feet is slightly larger than the other one. Not enough to make much of a difference though I do have to make sure I’ve tried shoes on both feet before I buy them. But isn’t that a sensible thing to do anyway?

  12. Left foot is a quarter to a half size bigger than the right, though I’m right handed. Mostly I wear Crocs and sandals because they are comfortable and don’t hurt the tops of my heels which tend to stick out and get bruised in regular shoes. Low boots are also more comfortable than regular shoes because they avoid cutting off at my bad spot by going about it.

  13. Philip,

    Thanks for info on the Mountain Hardware gaiters. I went with the medium and they are just right. They even fit both boots! :)


  14. My left foot is a full size bigger. I usually just by to make sure the left fits and have the right big. it work ok, but I’d love to be able to buy two pairs of shoes.

  15. My left foot is slightly smaller (size 8.5) so the heel always slips out the back when I find shoes that fit my right foot (size 9).

  16. What can I put in my left foot shoe it is bigger than right. My foot slips as I walk. Love those shoes Please help

  17. I have one foot half a size bigger than the other and it’s a nightmare! I bought a pair of football boots worth around £110 only to find that they only fitted the one foot! If size 11, it would rub against my right foot, if size 10 then my left foot would dig into the end! Agree 100% they should begin to sell singular shoes for your own size

  18. I have this problem but because I’m doninant onthe right side of my body, my right foot is both fatter & longer by 1/2 inch. And to make things worse for my right foot; I have a toe that grew some extra cartlidge when I sprained it when I was younger so that crams my toes together tighter than my left foot. Certain makes of shoes are almost impossible for me to wear bcause I have wide feet plus the 1/2 size bigger problem; certain shoes such as Vans & All Star Chuck Taylors are too tight fitted. Plus many more. I wish I could buy 8 1/2’s for my right foot & 8’s for the left. Someone should invent a solution for this problem! ;-)

  19. my right foot is a full size longer then the left but does not cause problems… I just buy shoes for the size of the right one

  20. Brooks will sell a mismatched size pair for a fee when purchased at a retailer. I paid $30 extra for a pair of running shoes purchased at Fleet Feet.

  21. My right foot is a size 5, my left a 7. It’s pretty annoying

  22. I have a similar problem to others on here; left foot 1/2 inch larger than right. Left foot wider and toes push to front of shoe/boot. When wearing sandals toe sticks out making sandal uncomfortable and unusable. Hard to shop for shoes. I usually go for size 9, 9 1/2 and 10 u.s. sizing depending on shoemaker and fit the larger foot.

    I prefer low inch shoes to those with a taller heel and am slightly flatfooted. Mom who has an arch to her feet and no size difference says that my father gave me this trait.

    I will buy a shoe thinking that it’s comfortable and find out later that it pushes too much to the front hurting my toes. My cousin has size 5 feet and has trouble finding shoes too. I really feel bad for people who have big size difference as finding a pair of reliable shoes will be a constant challenge. The glow of a snug fit is a nice feeling and worth all the trying on!

    • Isabel R: You might try Altra brand trail running shoes and boots, which have a wide “foot-shaped” toe area and a “zero drop” heel — meaning that the heel and toe are level. I find the large toe area allows my unevenly-sized feet to flex a bit better. You have to get used to the zero drop, since it might give you tendonititis if you wear the shoes for a hard hike without first letting your calves stretch a bit. I suggest buying from someplace with a good return policy for trial and error. I’ve found the issue with uneven feet has gotten worse as I’ve aged and my feet have flattened out. If you’re in a similar situation, you might experiment with after-market insole inserts, such as SuperFeet.

  23. Yup, I have this issue BAD. My left foot is 27.6 cm, while my right is 26.3, which is over a full size in US footwear. I can make everything work with running and hiking shoes, but ski boots are a different story. I live in Utah and ski 75 days a year, so this is a especially problematic. For the past 25 years, I have sized my larger, left foot, while stuffing bontex insoles and closed cell foam in my right boot. Invariably, my right foot goes numb, even on warm spring days. Last year, I finally broke down (literally) and bought two pair of boots, a 27.5 and a 26.5. My feet are far and away more comfortable, though I am poorer as a result. If anyone has a right foot that’s bigger than their left by 1.25 cm’s, I have a pair of alpine touring boots for you!!!

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