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Size Does Matter: Bigfoot Sneakerhead Problems

Giant PUMA Suede

The next time you cop an L on a hyped sneaker release, spare a thought for those who never had a chance in the first place: the Bigfoots. Access to larger shoe sizes – 13 and up – remains a challenge for customers and retailers alike, but the tide is slowly shifting for the small minority with massive feet. Here’s how the situation looks currently.

Big Poppa

Until fairly recently, men’s limited-edition sneakers generally ranged from size 7 to 12, with the sporadic inclusion of 13. Size 14 and up? In most cases, forget about it. This is most acutely felt with sneaker collaborations – even if it seems like dozens drop every week, a considerable portion of the market is missing out.

Tom Shepherd, who wears US13 and 14 shoes, knows this experience all too well.

However, the power of collaborations can provide for big-footed fans.

‘Most of the solebox x New Balance collaborations came in a 13, which were definitely some of the most desirable pairs for me. They were rare as hen’s teeth, but eventually, I got lucky and found someone willing to part with them. Another pair I was surprised to find after all these years was the END. x Saucony “Burgers”. I never saw anything above a 12 for years, but one day they just popped up on Facebook!’

Niche Retailing

Size 13 sneakerheads may occupy the upper end of the median market, but people who wear even bigger sizes represent an outlier that still needs to be catered to. Brothers Seth and Zak Langaker founded Oddball after years of being fed up with the lack of shoe retailers accommodating their size 16 feet.

‘When we started back in 1997, there were only a handful of companies that made the larger sizes and even fewer places that actually sold them. Back then, we had to beg and plead to get shoes made in the big sizes; now companies are more understanding that people are getting bigger and that bigger shoes really aren’t all that odd any longer,’ said Seth.

‘We have 10-year-olds whose bodies haven’t caught up to their foot size all the way up to 80-year-olds who are still looking to keep their feet outfitted in the latest and greatest.’

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