Psychology Behind Wearing the Wrong Shoe Size

For approximately 30,000 years, we humans haverelied on footwear to protect our feet.In the early days,footwear was usedfor protection purposes only, but modern-day footwear is designed to accomplish three criteria including form, function, and fit.

Form refers to the aesthetic appeal, and function belongs to the basic purpose. The fit relates to the morphology of the footandgoverns its function.If they don’t fit properly,shoes can’t fulfill their purpose of protecting your feet andsupporting your gait. If your shoe is too tight, it can cause tissue compression.If it’s too loose, it can result in friction or slippage.

Getting the right fitis a complex undertaking because the footwear industry is not able to design and manufacture shoes that can fitthe three-dimensional morphology of a variety of feet in the population. Similarly, the selection of shoes is not only based on quantitative factors but qualitative factors as well.

Woman Bare Feet and High Heels

Did you know, even though ill-fit shoes cause problems such as foot ulceration or pain, people continue to wear shoes that don’t fit them properly. Industry research shows that 3 in 5 people wear the wrong size shoes. They either try to squeeze their feet in shoes smaller than their foot size or get the one that keeps fallingoff the foot. Are you thinking of yourself right now? If yes, you better stick around to the end of this article.

Based on tens of thousands of foot profiles and surveys,FitMyFoot found that more than two-thirds of males overstate their shoe size by an average of 0.7 sizes, andwomen understatetheirsby an average of 0.1 sizes. What could be the reason behindthis phenomenon? Arewe not measuring the dimensions ofour feet when purchasing shoes, or is it the fashion that influencesour shoe purchasing?

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Your foot size not only depends on the length of your foot but also on its width. However, other factors, suchas age, genetics, foot conditions, and weight, play a role.Perhaps these factors are impacting the accuracy. Or there may beother reasons behind it. Let’s find out.

Psychological Reasons Behind Misstating Shoe Size

In today’s modern culture, activity isn’t the only consideration for people as they choosetheir footwear. Design and style are often paramountaccording to the image they want to portray. As mentioned earlier, the former purpose of footwear was protecting your feet from soil and cold, but now shoes are linked to symbolic values. And these symbolic values transformed shoes into the elements of fetish and social obligation.

When it comes to footwear choicesfor women, they pay the price of their foot health for achieving this symbol ofelegance and powerand even associating fetish and power. No doubt we have numerous shoe choices in terms of comfort, but women still engage themselves in the discomfort to feel beautiful, elegant, or sexy. They endurepainfrom wearing smaller size, high-heeled, or pointed-toe shoes.Perhaps they find some form ofpsychological comfort in the discomfort.

Woman In High Heels

Objects you love have a strong influence on your sense of identity. The relationship of industrial products and peoplehas beenrecentlyapproached from the perspective of affection. There arethree types of product experiences: aesthetic experiences, the experience of meaning, and emotional experience.

Aesthetic experience refers to the perception of the product and the beauty that you experience when you physically interact with the product.Experience of meaning relates to your association of meanings and memories to the product. And the last one, emotional experience is your feelings and emotions that occur when people evaluate the product.

This leads to an understanding that you perceive the product the way it represents you. And we know that men and women are mostly evaluated by their physical appearance. Although different cultures have different perceptions of beauty in men and women,foot size isgenerallyviewed as a symbol of the difference between the sexes. Small feet are associated with women's beauty and bigger foot sizes are linked with masculinity.

standing on tip toes

Practices such as foot-binding in China, and wearing small shoes in the U.S may indicate that small feet are the identification of female attractiveness in many cultures.Studies showthat women want to wear small size shoes to make their feet look smaller than men, asmen tend toprefer women with small feet. And as mentioned earlier, smaller feet not only differentiate them from men but alsosignify youthfulness and attractiveness. Similarly, good height, wide chest, and average size feet proportionate to stature are characteristics of an ideal man.

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Observers use dynamic elements such as physical features and static elements such as shoes or clothing styleto form impressions.The importance of physical attractiveness is rooted in the earlier stages of life for both boys andgirls. Many studieshave showed that physical appearance affects academic performance, social relationships and even earning in adulthood.

Deborah Rhode’s book “The Beauty Bias”calls thislookism. According to her, people are treated differently based on physical appearance, and this phenomenon is high in American society.The discrimination based on physical appearance is powerful, yet overlooked.

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Such biases and practices, such as foot-bindingin chinaand wearing small shoes inAmerica have beensubconsciouslyprogramming men and womenfor a long time. Similarly, the cultural perspectives of the big masculine buildand tallstature of men versus thepetite physique, youthfulness, and small foot size ofwoman have cast an effect on how men and women view their bodies, includingfoot and shoe sizes.

So, if you’re lying about your shoe size, know you are not alone. It’s cultural, but can be detrimental to your health. Check out theFitMyFoot app to get an accurate measurement of each of your unique feet. They will thank you.

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