Have you ever walked past the celebrity footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, and thought – “Wow, such tiny feet!” It’s not a movie special effect, it’s proof that our feet have gotten a lot bigger over the last century.

Back when Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ruled the silver screen, the average woman wore a size 4 shoe. By the 1970s, it was up to 7-and-a-half. Now, the most common ladies’ size is a 9.

What’s going on here? It’s simple: We’re getting taller and heavier, and our feet are trying to keep up. 

Part of the problem: Experts say that when kids eat calorie-dense foods like pizza and processed foods, it can trigger the production of growth hormones.

Also, the bones of a child are softer and more flexible, and when a child’s overweight or obese, the bones in their feet tend to spread out under the excess weight. Their arches flatten out, and their feet get wider and longer. 

So, today’s kids tend to have much bigger feet at younger ages. Like one girl we read about, who already wore a ladies size 7 in kindergarten! 

In general, women with large feet have a hard time finding shoes that fit. Women are also embarrassed to ask for what they consider “man-size” shoes. So, they often end up buying too-small sizes, which leads to foot pain, and injuries, like turned ankles and bunions. 

The good news is: Shoe manufacturers, buyers and retailers are finally starting to take notice, and are offering more styles in larger sizes. And every year, more sellers are jumping on the big feet bandwagon. 

Also, big feet are getting an image makeover, thanks to celebrities with plus-size feet, like Kate Winslet, who wears size 11.