Our Feet Are Getting Bigger (And Flatter)
In the greatest news for fetishists since sandals became hip again, Britain's College of Podiatry determined that the average shoe size has increased by two over the last 40 years. A women's 6 (that's British for 8) and men's 10 (a Yankee 10.5) is the new standard. In America, women averaged a size 6.5 in the 1960s, but today tend to be in the 8.5-9 range, meaning most of them could absolutely destroy their grandmothers at foot wrestling.
Bigger feet are a side effect of bigger everything else. The obesity crisis has reached the point where 60% of surveyed Brits noticed that their feet have widened over the years, and god knows how many couldn't tell because they can't even see their feet anymore. A larger body means a wider foot that's desperately trying to accommodate your wheezing trot to 7-11 for more beef jerky.
Nutritional standards have also skyrocketed right alongside our propensity to add bacon grease to our coffee. Back in the 19th century, children were given just enough gruel for breakfast to provide them with the energy to pick up a mining lantern. But when we have access to so much good food that the only modern health risk most kids face is from shoveling enough into their mouths to feed an entire Dickensian orphanage twice over, they're reaching heights that would make them look like mini-Apollos to the youth of yore, and they're hitting those heights earlier and more often. And taller people have bigger feet, as anyone who's watched a basketball game or browsed some of the creepier subreddits knows.
Lewis Hine/National ArchivesBack in the days when growing up tall only meant you were presenting a larger target during a European trench war.