Robert Wadlow and really big feet

Happy new year 2013! It’s a new year and my new year’s resolution is to stop complaining about the size of my feet. I know I complain sometimes about having big feet, but there’ll always be people better and worse off than myself. Some people whose feet are far from the average size of the general population find it impossible to buy shoes in shops and have to get them custom made.

It’s all to do with proportions. The taller and bigger a person is, obviously their feet will also proportionally be bigger. In general, the length of your feet corresponds to the length of your forearm (from inside elbow to wrist). How many of you are doing funny contortions now to check whether this statement is true?

Having super gigantic feet can be hazardous to your health, as in the case of Robert Wadlow. Robert Pershing Wadlow (1918 – 1940) is the tallest person who ever lived, for whom there is reliable evidence. He was 2.72m tall (8 feet 11 inches) and was still growing at the time of his death. Robert Wadlow was born in Alton, Illinois on 22nd February 1918. He was a normal size at birth at 8 pounds 6 ounces, but by the age of 5, he was already the height of an adult at 5 feet 4 inches (1.63m). He suffered from an over-active pituitary gland that produced  abnormally high levels of growth hormone. Nowadays, this condition can be treated, but in the 1920s and 1930s when Wadlow was growing up, there was no treatment.

A life size statue of Robert Wadlow, whose height was 2.72 metres, is 2 metres tall while sitting down!

A life size statue of Robert Wadlow is 2 metres tall while sitting down! His full height was 2.72 metres.

Robert Wadlow’s shoe size was a whopping 37AA (The letters indicate width – A is narrow while E is wide). His feet were 47cm or 18.5 inches long. His shoes, which were custom made for him, cost US $100, a large sum of money back in the 1930s. In 1937, his shoes were provided free by the International Shoe Company.

That is not a child's shoe. That is my adult size 10 sneaker next to a replica of Robert Wadlow's shoe.

That is not a child’s shoe. That is my adult size 10 sneaker next to a replica of Robert Wadlow’s size 37 shoe.

Robert Wadlow’s big feet caused him problems and contributed to his death. He had little feeling in his feet and wore leg braces to help him walk. He died from a fatal infection caused by a blister on his ankle. Robert Wadlow died on 15th July 1940.