Weird History The Different (Physical) Sizes Of US Presidents  

Justin Andress
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It goes without saying that the President of the United States of America looms large in this nation's day-to-day life. In some cases, that was very much the case physically. Abraham Lincoln, the tallest president, towered over his contemporaries at 6’3". William Howard Taft, the heaviest president, was a physical force at 340 pounds. Beyond those standouts, though, how much do you really know about the physical lives of the presidents?

These men have run the gamut in size and stature from Lincoln to little James Madison, who was just a pint-sized 5’4". How tall were the presidents? What were the presidential shoe sizes? How much did they weigh? The POTUS owes part of their character to their physical size, just like they owe a bit of themselves to the diseases they battled or their accomplishments in office in the first 100 days. If you have ever wanted to know how big or small each of the Presidents were, your wait is over. Here’s a list with just those facts. 


George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Different (Physical) Sizes Of US Presidents
Photo: History Rewound/Flickr

Height: 6'0"

Shoe Size: 13

Washington is described as a man with a “slender” build and “with pretty long arms and thighs.” He also had larger than average hands and, presumably, feet to match. William Sullivan described him as "over six feet in stature; of strong, bony, muscular frame, without fullness of covering, well-formed and straight. He was a man of most extraordinary strength.”

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John Adams is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Different (Physical) Sizes Of US Presidents
Photo:  John Trumbull/Wikimedia Commons

Height: 5'6"

A notoriously sickly man, Adams was “stocky in his youth and portly in middle age. He had quick blue eyes and fine brown hair. [...] By the time he became president, his hands shook with palsy, and most of his teeth had fallen to pyorrhea. He refused to wear the ill-fitting dentures of the period and thus, from this time, talked with a lisp.”

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Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Different (Physical) Sizes Of US Presidents
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 181 lbs

Shoe Size: 12.5

Edmund Bacon, overseer at Monticello, wrote that Jefferson was "well proportioned, and straight as a gun barrel. He was like a fine horse - he had no surplus flesh. [...] His countenance was always mild and pleasant."

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James Madison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Different (Physical) Sizes Of US Presidents
Photo: John Vanderlyn/Wikimedia Commons

Height: 5'4"

Weight: 100 lbs

Madison was known for having “brown hair, blue eyes, and a rather tawny complexion. His nose was scarred from once having been frostbitten. He wore a size 7.25 hat. Until his last years he always appeared young for his age.”

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#5 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

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