A public opinion poll conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association found that from head to toe, the foot ranks lowest on a list of body parts/functions that Americans view as important to their well-being. Yet, Americans have to stand and walk on their feet every day. We believe that you should pay more attention to the condition of your feet, and perhaps these fascinating foot facts will get you thinking more about them.

We’ve Been Wearing Shoes for Thousands of Years

The first foot coverings were most likely animal skins which were tied around the ankles in cold weather. Investigators at Washington University in St. Louis studied foot bones from Neanderthals and early humans and estimated that humans began wearing shoes per se about 40,000 years ago. The oldest preserved shoe (found in an Armenian cave) is approximately 5,500 years old.

Barleycorn is Used for Shoe Sizing in the UK

In the 1300s, King Edward II issued a royal decree that the width of one barleycorn (1/3 of an inch) would equal one shoe size. The king copied it from the Romans, and today shoe measurements are still made in barleycorns in the UK.

The Wearing of High Heels Originated with Men

In the 17th century, Persian warriors wore high heels, and European men adopted the fashion. Women followed suit, not to look more feminine, but to look more masculine. In the 16th and 17th centuries, European shoe heels were always red in color, and it was only in the 18th century that shoes for women became different from men’s shoes. In the Middle East heels were added to shoes to keep the foot well away from the hot desert sand.

There is a Shoe Museum in Toronto

The Toronto Museum is the only shoe museum in North America and showcases shoes that span more than 4,500 years. The museum believes that it’s important to tell the story of shoes. For instance, the Romans began making distinct shoes for the left and right feet – before that, shoes were worn on either foot – and the first boots were made for Queen Victoria in 1840.

There’s a Guinness World Record for Sniffing the Most Feet and Armpits

The holder is Madeline Albrecht who sniffed 5,600 feet while working for 15 years in a lab testing foot products.

Runners Blow Past Walkers

Many runners have logged at least 100,000 in running miles alone. A runner named Herb Fred had run a whopping 250,000 miles by 2014. The pressure on the feet when running can be as much as four times the runner’s body weight.

Foot Sizes are Increasing

People are packing on the pounds, and feet are spreading accordingly. A 2014 study by the UK College of Podiatry found that the average foot went up two sizes since the 1970s. The world’s largest feet belonged to Matthew McGrory – US size 29.

Many Glamorous Women Have Big Feet

Jacqueline Kennedy (size 10), Uma Thurman (size 11) and petite Audrey Hepburn (size 10-1/2). The most someone ever paid for a pair of shoes was $660,000 for Dorothy’s shoes from the Wizard of Oz.

Why Our Feet are Ticklish

If you can’t stand having your feet tickled, it’s because each of your feet contains almost 8,000 nerves. Moreover, a large number of the nerve endings are near the surface of the skin of the foot, more nerve endings than in any other part of the body. You’ll be tickled pink to learn that ticklish feet are a sign of good health.

Women Have Four Times as Many Foot Problems Than Men

This painful fact is probably due to the wearing of high heels. It’s worth noting that a 2½-inch high heel increases the load on the forefoot by 75 percent. Women are also not helped when many of them wear shoes that are too small for their feet – more than half of American women have bunions. If you don’t find your painful bunion (or any other kind of foot problem) to be fascinating, Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle is here to help you. Make an appointment with us today.