My left leg is 3/4" shorter than my right leg. I have trained in Tae Kwon Do for 6 years and earned my first Dan. However barefoot training is becoming a real problem. Martial arts shoes all seem to have very narrow soles not suitable for buildup. Will a wide-soled shoe help or is there another solution that will help this problem?

  • 2
    Not trying to imply you don't know about your own body, but a lot of diagnosed "short legs" turn out to be problems with hip-alignment (if that is a word) did you ever ask a chiropractor or an osteopathic practitioner about it? – kioopi Mar 5 '13 at 15:41
  • 2
    A friend benefited greatly from seeing a doctor associated with the Karate Union of GB who understood medicine and martial arts. A problem with his knees was actually too tight achilles tendons. – Wudang Apr 6 '13 at 19:26
  • 1
    Personal views of chiropractics aside, hip alignment could be a factor. Either way, a podiatrist may be able to prescribe a custom orthotic to help your rather unique situation. – stslavik May 7 '13 at 18:46
  • 3
    An opinion backed by evidence. Google for Cochrane reviews of chiropractors. Google research on "subluxations" and say asthma. Have a look at whatstheharm.net/chiropractic.html A properly trained MD has a wide understanding of the whole body and should be able to recommend appropriate specialists. – Wudang Aug 3 '13 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Wudang: If I could upvote your comment more than once, I would. – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Jul 3 '14 at 11:25

FWIW, I've read Bruce Lee had a significant difference in leg length too:

“You probably are not aware of it,” he said, “but my left leg is almost one inch shorter than the right. That fact dictated the best stance for me – my right foot leading. Then I found because the right leg was longer, I had an advantage with certain types of kicks, since the uneven stomp gave me greater impetus.”

You may want to experiment with which leg you put in front during sparring - longer leg forward. Experiment with your stance until you find a posture where everything's comfortable and level and able to rotate and twist in the directions you need for techniques including footwork.

Obviously, for patterns and a lot of set exercises you'll be expected to practice more or less evenly on each side, but you can get to know the implications - for example, you might find you are better at a more upright, quick kick with the shorter leg, and want to reach deeper with the longer leg - "listen" to your body to find what's natural.

There are a lot of flexibility issues with small stabilising muscles that could affect your overall comfort. I'm getting on - 42 now - and need to spend more time on stretches that I didn't even know about 5 years ago, like lying on my back with my feet still on the ground and maybe 60 cms apart, knees bent, then dipping my knees inwards towards the ground one at a time. I went to see a physio who's also a top Kyokushin fighter. I'd recommend a professional assessment of where you're stiff or weak and what to do about it.


Well talking about shorter leg. i think wide soled shoes will work out but.. might be not. If you have acheived your dan.. then u mst be a good player. I think you have got to turn your basics and modify them. I mean to say go as per comfort. Dont you wory about shoes thats the least important thing in martial arts. The key is proper execution of your moves. You can get ordered shoes as per yor wants. And might you can asjust it with high and low healed shoes in alternate legs.. Hope this helps.. -adrocks09..

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.