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What makes men taller?

10 ways for any man to look taller

These style tips will not only make you look taller, but some of them may actually increase your height.

Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

Men know that height matters. Taller guys make more money, get more dates, and are perceived as more dominant. Unfortunately, it’s also the one attribute that is completely beyond your control.

However, there are a number of tools and techniques you can use to look taller. These style tips will not only make you look better, but you’ll also be healthier. Depending on who you are, some of these tips may even cause you actually gain 1-3 inches in height.

I don’t want to promise anything outlandish though. All I can say is that if you follow these tips, you’ll definitely look better and taller. That’s an undisputed fact.

Whether you actually change your physical height depends entirely upon where you are currently.

Wear shoes that make you look taller

This is an easy way to look taller that women have been using with high heels forever.

Your footwear automatically adds .5-1.5 inches (1.27-3.81 centimeters) to your height. We can take even further advantage of this by either adding insoles or intentionally wearing shoes that give us 2-3 inches (5.08-7.62 centimeters).

Some guys scoff at this idea, thinking that they’ll be exposed when they take their shoes off and the illusion of height vanishes. I’m not going to tell you that this isn’t possible, but you don’t have to really worry about this for two reasons:

  1. Most of the time you’re around people, you have your shoes on. Until you’re in someone’s home or they visit yours, this won’t really matter. And if you’re in someone else‘s home, you’re almost certainly going to be wearing your shoes. If you aren’t, that brings me to the second worry.
  2. Increasing the appearance of being taller is just to get past human bias so people have a real chance to get to know you. Humans can’t help their programming. You might be the perfect match for someone, but because they feel a mismatch in attraction because you’re a little shorter, it never works out. This tactic can get you past that until they fall for you completely and a difference in two inches not only doesn’t matter, but it is unlikely to even be noticed.

The leader in shoes that make you taller for all sizes is Conzuri. You discretely and easily add up to 2.5 inches to your height. That is significant enough for any man to change his dating prospects and business opporturnities.

Use discount code “EDWARD25477” to 15% off your order.

Buy shoes to make you taller here at Conzuri

Lose body fat

Losing body fat makes you look taller for two reasons:

  1. Weight reduction decompresses the spine. Depending on how overweight you are, this decompression could result in up to an inch of height gained.
  2. It is easier to have a proper posture when you’re slimmer and it helps one to appear taller after weight loss.

A research study published by Israeli neurosurgeon Zvi Lidar demonstrates how effective this approach can be in looking taller. The researchers noted that “disc height restoration after weight reduction was significant.”

They noted an increase of about 2 mm in just one intervertebral disc, between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae. That’s not much in one disk alone, but if those results happen alone all the disks—or even just half—you’re looking at noticeable real height gain of potential 1-3 inches.

Also worth noting is that being slimmer automatically makes you look more elongated. Your limbs look longer and are better defined, which further accentuates the illusion of height. A slimmer waistline decreases the horizontal space you take up, which makes people pay more attention to vertical lines which make you appear taller.

This is yet another reason why you should lose the extra body fat that you’re carrying around.

Lose body fat to look taller

Improve your posture

For most of my adult life, I was 6’0”. Then, when I was 28, I enlisted in the Army.

After 10 weeks of basic training and 16 weeks of advanced individual training, I got measured at my first Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and I had grown—at age 29—over an inch and a half to be almost 6’2”.

It’s not that I actually experienced cell division that would cause me to increase my height. Rather, after 26 weeks of standing at attention and parade rest in formations that were inspected daily, I improved my posture—and I didn’t even think that I had bad posture!

I strongly recommend you start training to improve your posture.

Most people do not have good posture. Correcting bad posture can result in a 1-2 inch “gain” immediately. The best part is that correcting your posture also has so many athletic, psychological, and emotional benefits.

Good posture also accentuates the neckline, giving an even better appearance of height. This is an easy lay-up and is almost certainly an area where you can gain an extra 1-2 inches in height.

Posture trainers like the following are what I used to help keep my posture gains after I got out of the military. Wearing one will save you from getting a hump in your back in your thirties from sitting at a desk 8-10 hours a day—>Posture training devices here

Wear fitted clothing

Fitted clothing makes you look slimmer for the same reason that losing body fat does.

When you carry extra body fat or your clothes are baggy, it creates the appearance of being wider by drawing more attention to the horizontal line across the body. When attention is drawn to horizontal lines, it not only makes you look out of shape, but it takes attention away from the vertical lines and makes you look shorter.

Learn how to dress like a man, from a man

If you look good, you’ll feel good and do even better.

Unfortunately, men are rarely taught the values of style, dressing well, and picking clothing that gets them massive attention.

Too many guys are taught that it’s effeminate or “gay” to care about their appearance but NOTHING could be further from the truth. Tanner Guzy is who I used to get my style right and who I wholeheartedly recommend for any guy looking to do the same.

He’s got many offerings depending on your budget!

Baggy clothing also is generally viewed as low-status. If you want to take full advantage of the halo effect, then it‘s important that your fashion does not look low-class.

This means that it‘s well-fitting, clean, and void of logos. Those things won‘t make you look taller, per se. But because we associate good things in clusters, and being tall is good, dressing well goes a long way in creating the illusion of height. Or, at the very least, it draws attention away from how short you are.

Well-fitting clothing on Ed Latimore

Wear a hat

Hats are excellent for making you appear taller.

They extend the top of your head, and people looking at you wearing the hat will assume that you’re as tall as the hat makes you appear.

Depending on the style of the hat, you can gain 1 to 2 inches in appearance of height immediately. This is also a stylish way to look taller and allows you to immediately express yourself creatively as well.

I personally love a good Panama hat or a Driver’s Cap. You can’t go wrong as a man with either of those two.

Ed Latimore in driver

  • Collection of Panama Hats
  • Collection of Driver’s Caps

Don’t wear belts

Wearing a belt does two things that actively work against making your look taller.

  1. They create a horizontal line. Horizontal lines are bad because they make you look wider, which simultaneously makes you look short.
  2. Belts visually divide the body and they draw attention to the lower half of you when that division occurs. This is a subtle trick of the eye that people don’t think about, but it’s the same reason why wearing a hat works. It draws your attention up and slightly exaggerates it. Belts do the same thing but pull your eyesight down.

Obviously, there will be situations where this isn’t feasible. If you must wear a belt and try to look taller, get one the same color as your pants.

Keep the waist button of your jacket above the navel

Choose jackets and blazers with a high waist button.

This is another example of a feature that draws the eye higher up on the body. This has the effect of making the legs appear longer because the legs seem to visually start higher.

In this same regard, a shorter jacket has the same effect. Longer jackets and coats take the focus down and create the appearance of shorter legs. The appearance of shorter legs creates the appearance of less height. If you wear a shorter jacket, it makes you look taller by making your legs look longer.

Ed in blazer

Wear high-waisted pants

High-waisted jeans make it appear as if you have longer legs by making it appear as if your waistline is higher. High-rise jeans and high-rise pants create a powerful visual that makes you look in shape and taller.

Making your bottom half look even longer makes you look younger and healthier as well, as longer legs are typically a feature of youth. Combine this with good posture, and you have a powerful hack for looking much taller than you really are.

Latimore wearing high waisted pants

Dress in a monochromatic color scheme

If you only wear one color, your eye doesn’t have to factor in any breaks. This will do a great job of making sure that we don’t create any horizontal lines when the color changes. For example, even if you follow all of the instructions above, if your shirt and pants are two different colors, you will automatically create a horizontal line at the transition point because of the different colors.

If your shoes, pants, shirt, and hat are the same color, you will naturally appear taller. Monochromatic outfits are not only good for making you look taller but wearing them is also a great piece of fashion advice.

Wear vertical stripes

Vertical stripes have the opposite effect as horizontal stripes. Horizontal lines and stripes make you look wider and shorter. Vertical lines and stripes make you look leaner and taller.

Sweater vertical stripes

This sweater is the closest thing I have to vertical stripes. I personally don’t have many striped outfits in either direction, but all vertical lines have a lengthening effect on your physique.

Ed Latimore

About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

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How We Get Tall

Men grew four inches in 100 years, mostly in the early 20th century. How they managed that speaks to how our childhood living conditions influence our stature.

May 9, 2014

Emperor Napoleon I of France lends his name to an insecurity complex that supposedly plagues some short men. But the neurosis is misnamed: At five-foot-six, Napoleon practically towered over the average Frenchman of his day.

Maybe it’s because Hollywood tends to cast strapping hunks in period dramas that we forget that, for most of human history, the world belonged to shorties. It wasn’t until well after the invention of cars and antibiotics that the average European man outgrew today’s average American teenaged girl.

Last year, Tim Hatton, an economist at the University of Essex in the U.K., rounded up data on the heights of European 21-year-olds dating from 1860 to about 1980. The results, published in the Oxford Economic Papers, were impressive: The average European man became about 11 centimeters taller between 1870 and 1970, gaining about a centimeter per decade. A mid-19th century British man stood just five feet, four inches tall, but he was five-foot-eight by 1980.

On average, the Europeans grew faster than Latin Americans, South Asians, and Africans did. But the fact that the bulk of the height increase occurred in the early 20th century—through two world wars, poor healthcare, and a global economic recession—was puzzling. Food became cheaper between the wars, but people were also increasingly moving to cities and further from sources of fresh dairy and produce.

“It can’t just be nutrition,” Hatton told me by phone. “There must be something else going on.”

When thinking about why we grow, it can help to visualize the body as a type of machine, as the economist Richard Steckel did:

“This machine expends fuel at rest (basal metabolism) amounting to some 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day (depending upon the size of the person) to breathe, keep warm, circulate the blood and so forth, and in physical effort, fighting infection and physical growth.”

«If Joe is taller than Jack, it’s probably because his parents are taller. But if the average Norwegian is taller than the average Nigerian it’s because Norwegians live healthier lives.»

We eat food to keep our inner engines running. Our bodies then use those calories to lengthen our bones and multiply our cells until we reach the end of puberty. But when we’re ravaged by infections or deprived of nutrients, growth takes a back seat to keeping the heart and organs functioning. If we’re struck by too many diseases and deficiencies, we stop short (literally) of the height we might have achieved.

While about 80 percent of height is determined by genes, auxologists (those are height scientists) now believe that nutrition and sanitation determine much of the rest. As the New Yorker’s Burkhard Bilger put it in 2004:

“Height variations within a population are largely genetic, but height variations between populations are mostly environmental, anthropometric history suggests. If Joe is taller than Jack, it’s probably because his parents are taller. But if the average Norwegian is taller than the average Nigerian it’s because Norwegians live healthier lives.”

Your childhood environment can give you (or take away) three or four inches. A lack of nutrient-rich food and clean water explains why stunting is prevalent among children in developing countries. Studies of North Koreans found that those born after the country was divided in two were about two inches shorter than their counterparts in the South.

When Barry Bogin, an anthropologist at Temple University, measured the heights of children from the Maya ethnic group, he found that Maya refugee children growing up in the United States were about four inches taller than Maya children who were still living in their native Guatemala. He chalked up the difference to America’s superior nutrition and healthcare.

As Hatton charted Europeans’ remarkable growth spurt, he also found that the increase in height corresponded with a simultaneous drop in infant mortality. But he wasn’t sure what was driving those two metrics.

For a new working paper, he wanted to examine what it was, exactly, about the life circumstances of those 20th-century Europeans that determined whether they became lanky or squat.

Hatton and his colleagues, Roy E. Bailey from the University of Essex and Kris Inwood from the University of Guelph, created a database of 2,236 British soldiers who served in World War I, and then they looked up their birth records. The soldiers were relatively representative of the male population as a whole—about two-thirds of the 1890 British male birth cohort enlisted. It turns out that subtle differences in their heights hinted at their origins:

  • Those from white-collar backgrounds were taller: This follows the theory that wealth buys better food and living conditions, and thus greater height in adulthood. The men who hailed from the top two social classes stood a half-inch taller, on average.
  • The more kids there were in a household, the shorter they were: Not only because there was less food to go around, but also because it made it more likely that there were more people in each bedroom. “Crowding can help spread respiratory and gastrointestinal infections,” Hatton said. “People sneezing on each other, that sort of thing.” Each additional sibling cost the men an eighth of an inch, and having more than one person per bedroom shaved off a quarter-inch.
  • Children of literate mothers were taller: When mothers couldn’t read, they were less likely to know about the importance of a balanced diet or clean cutlery. The researchers measured the percentage of women by region who were only able to sign their marriage certificates with an X, rather than their name. People from areas with a high percentage of illiterate mothers were a quarter-inch shorter.
  • People from industrial districts were shorter than those from agricultural areas: Regardless of income, the Dickensian living conditions of 19th century British cities suppressed height by about nine-tenths of an inch. On top of being hit with factory pollution, urban dwellers were packed into filthy, disease-ridden slums. As Kellow Chesney described inThe Victorian Underworld, “Hideous slums, some of them acres wide, some no more than crannies of obscure misery, make up a substantial part of the metropolis … In big, once handsome houses, thirty or more people of all ages may inhabit a single room.”

But as the 20th century wore on, that description became less and less apt. Tenements and slums were replaced with better housing; sewage systems and running water became standard. Women attended school in greater numbers and went from having five children, on average, to two. In a 2010 study, Hatton estimated that declining fertility was responsible for 40 percent of the height increase in Britain between 1906 and 1938. The 20th century was when Europeans achieved modernity, and as a result, it seems, they had to buy longer pants.

“Together these developments help to explain the apparent puzzle of rapid improvement in average health status during a period of war and depression that predates the advent of universal health services,” Hatton and his colleagues wrote.

For centuries, Americans were the NBA players of the world. We were two inches taller than the Red Coats we squared off against in the American Revolution. In 1850, Americans had about two and a half inches on people from every European country. But our stature plateaued after World War II, and since then, other countries shot past us. White Americans have grown a bit taller since the early 1980s, but African Americans haven’t.

Now, the Dutch are the tallest, at an average of six feet for men and five-foot-seven for women. They’ve come a long way: In 1848, a quarter of Dutch men were rejected from military service because they didn’t meet the five-foot-two height limit. “Today, fewer than one in 1,000 is that short,” the Associated Press noted in 2006. (The tallest people on record, though, are apparently the people of the Dinaric Alps, in the former Yugoslavia, where adolescent males are, on average, six-foot-one monoliths.)

There’s A Scientific Reason Why Women Are Attracted To Taller Men

There’s A Scientific Reason Why Women Are Attracted To Taller Men

I find myself asking this more often than I’d care to admit, but I’m not alone. There’s a scientific reason behind why women tend to be attracted to taller men.

Why Taller Is Hotter

According to a 2013 study, “men liked being taller than their partners, but they didn’t care about the height difference as much as women did.” Out of the 650 college students who participated in the study, the average man preferred a woman three inches shorter than him, and the average woman preferred a man eight inches taller than her.

There are a few reasons behind this phenomenon. John Malouff, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of New England in Australia, writes, “One theory is that for evolutionary reasons women unconsciously prefer tall men because these men tend to be more successful in physical altercations with other men. That theory would apply to humans a dominance perspective similar to that experts hold regarding gorillas and many other animals.”

“The idea,” Malouff continues, “from evolutionary psychology, is this: Modern women tend to have genes that propel them, consciously or not, to favor tall men. That occurs because women in the past who had this preference tended more than other women to produce children who survived to reproduce. Were the tall men of yesteryear able to obtain more food? Able to better protect a woman and children? Could height have indicated health and intellect? We know that in children proper nutrition makes a big difference for height, health, and intellectual development. The evidence is clear in poor countries where some children come close to starving.”

Looking up to someone literally may translate in the unconscious brain to looking up to a person figuratively.

Malouff adds, “Another possibility is that women favor tallness in men for psychosocial reasons. Looking up to someone literally may translate in the unconscious brain to looking up to a person figuratively. Also, tall men may give women a sense of being protected by a more powerful person. Studies show that tall men are seen as leaders and are elected to office more often than shorter men who run against them. I would guess that as a group they make more money (even putting aside players in the National Basketball Association!).”

In short (pun very much intended), women tend to associate height with masculinity in a similar way they associate athleticism with masculinity. There’s something hot behind a guy who towers over you because you feel protected.

Being Tall Isn’t a Character Trait

Now that we’ve acknowledged why we think tall guys are hotter, it’s time to address the more problematic aspects of this phenomenon. Have you ever met a tall guy who considers his height a personality trait? It’s annoying AF, and we often let them get away with bad behavior because of it.

sleeping beauty tall and handsome

We see this in phrases like “every inch above six feet is a free red flag,” and it further proves that we associate height with attractiveness. This is another example of the halo effect, which means we tend to view attractive people as morally good. This makes us give a more attractive person the benefit of the doubt and prevents us from seeing red flags that we’d probably notice or take more seriously if he weren’t so good-looking.

Ladies, don’t fall for this and let a guy get away with toxic behavior because he’s tall. I don’t care if he’s six foot, five inches – you deserve someone who treats you well.

Is There Hope for Shorter Guys?

This might seem like a nail in the coffin for shorter guys (for reference, the height of the average American man is five foot, nine inches), but that’s not necessarily true. Sure, some women will refuse to date a guy who isn’t above six feet, but those women tend to be shallow and more interested in optics than happiness. When a woman is looking for a serious relationship, she cares more about a guy’s character and how he treats her than she does about his height.

Women tend to be attracted to men who are confident and classically handsome.

This isn’t to say that height doesn’t matter, for most women prefer for their man to be taller than them. For example, I’m on the smaller side (five foot, four inches), and though I prefer a taller guy, it usually doesn’t matter because I can wear high heels around most guys and still be shorter than them. However, I’ve also found myself caring less about height as I’ve gotten older.

Furthermore, women tend to be attracted to men who are confident and classically handsome. For example, Zac Efron is five foot, eight inches, and he doesn’t let that stop him from being one of the hottest guys ever.

zac efron muscles

Closing Thoughts

We can blame evolutionary psychology for our love for taller men, which makes sense when you think of how women have a biological desire to be protected. Though science is in favor of taller men, women can be attracted to shorter guys if they’re kind, confident, and handsome (I never said we weren’t a little superficial), and most guys can live up to these expectations. When in doubt, just remember Zac Efron.

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