Babies grow faster than weeds! Having a clear baby shoe sizing guide will help when you wake up one day, and suddenly your baby has hit that growth spurt.
While no baby’s foot is the same as another, you can use rough measurements you can to get the sizing right.
In this baby’s shoe sizing guide, we cover:
- How to measure your baby’s foot.
- Baby shoe size chart.
- Making sure the size is correct.
- How often to measure a baby’s feet.
- The importance of a perfect fit.
How To Measure Baby Feet
Measuring baby feet can be a challenge. They’re tiny, attached to a wriggling article, often waving in the air.
Even so, persevere with measuring their feet with these guides depending on the age of the child:
For Older Babies
If your baby can stand or stay still while you hold them, you can use this easy, clean method.
What You’ll Need:
- A piece of paper.
- Pen or pencil.
- A flat surface.
How To Measure:
- Draw a line down the center of the paper to ensure a straight measurement.
- Place the paper on a flat, hard surface, like wood or tile flooring.
- Make sure the edge of the paper is against the wall.
- Have the baby stand on the paper—heel touching the wall, longest toe along the centerline.
- Mark the tip of the longest toe or trace the entire foot for a more precise measurement.
- If you have to hold the baby and can’t get their heel to the wall, mark where the heel sits on the line if you didn’t trace.
- Repeat with the other foot.
What to Do Next:
If you marked length, measure from the edge of the page to the line you made. Use this to check the shoe size chart later in the article. It’ll give you an approximate age range for baby shoes.
If you traced, again, use the size chart to figure out what sizes to try. Then:
- Cut out the footprints and attach them to a piece of cardboard.
- Slip the cutouts into a pair of baby’s socks.
- Use these to test shoes in the store, so you don’t have to go through the fuss with a baby in public—although, for some, this is a fun and cherished experience.
- Buy shoes that seem to fit, then take them home to try on your baby.
- Return any shoes that are too small, but keep ones too large for future use—they’ll fit before you know it.
For Younger Babies
For the most part, if baby is too young to stand, they’ll be too young for shoes. But, if you like to dress your baby like a mini-adult, it’s still vital you get the correct measurements.
You might be able to use the above method for younger babies, too. But, if you simply can’t get your child to stand, or they’re too small, you’ll need one of these alternative methods.
The Drawing Method
- Wait until your baby is sleeping, then take a pencil and paper.
- Gently press the paper against the baby’s foot, then mark the size with lines or tracing—watch out for curled toes.
- Measure between the marks, from the heel to the tip of the longest toe.
- Repeat with the other foot.
The Paint Method
It may be difficult to draw around your baby’s feet when they’re asleep or without a flat surface to lean on. Here’s an easier way:
- When your baby is sleeping or very relaxed, paint their feet with something skin-safe.
- Make sure there are no curled toes, and press a piece of paper or cardboard against their feet.
- Draw a line from the heels to the longest point of the big toes.
- Measure the lines.
- Alternatively, cut out the footprints as per the older baby method.
Pro tip: Skin-safe paints include face/body paint, non-acidic condiments and slow-setting makeup—but always wash baby’s feet straight after.
Foot Measuring Device
If none of these methods work for you, consider buying a foot measuring device. They’re available in kids’ shoe stores or online.
Baby Shoe Sizing Chart
Here’s a guide to help you with shoe sizes, measurements and age range the sizes may cater to.
This size chart won’t be true for every brand—some may still class baby shoes over 4 inches as 0–6 months. However, the size chart was crafted after examining several baby shoe retailer’s size charts and age guides.
For older toddler sizes, see our kids shoe sizing guide.
Making Sure You Have the Correct Size
Once you think you know the baby’s size, ensure it’s definitely correct.
A baby foot size guide, measurements or foot cutouts can only do so much. And sometimes, baby shoes can differ in size, depending on the brand or model.
Remember, measurements are a guide when figuring out shoe size. Baby shoe companies use different models to create their shoe size. Make sure you stay on top of the latest info and know what brands run large or small in baby shoes.
You’ll know it’s the right size if your baby is comfortable. Younger children won’t be able to explicitly express this comfort but may cry when and wave their feet when something is wrong.
Here are some tips to ensure you have the correct size and comfort level for your baby:
To make sure the length of the shoe is correct, use your thumb. You should be able to press your thumb down on the toes of the shoe without petting tiny toes. This ensures adequate room during regular use.
At the shoe’s heel, you should be able to slide your thumb down the heel with no issues or force. When you slide your thumb down the back, you know your baby’s toes can sit in the front of the shoe without pain. It’s an indicator that even the tip of the toe box is wide enough for wiggling toes.
Little feet have delicate skin and ankles, and baby shoes can be just as rough as adult shoes. So, unless there’s a gap between the shoe and the ankle, you’ve got the wrong shoe size.
There should be enough wiggle room to get your pinky finger between the ankle and shoe. This gap will prevent chafing and blisters.
If the shoe fits perfectly elsewhere and matches our sizing guide, it may not be the size that’s at fault. The brand is the issue—not the shoe size.
Shoe size width matters as much as the length. Some shoe sizes won’t accommodate wider feet, so check this, too.
If you can press your thumb on the bottom edge of the shoe without hitting little feet, the shoe size is right.
You don’t need the width of your thumb here, just the tip. You’ll have to press the upper down to meet the sole to ensure the sizing is perfect.
How Often to Measure Baby’s Feet
Because babies grow so quickly, measure their feet every 4–8 weeks, just to be safe.
You should also recheck their shoes regularly, as some brands run small. Just because your baby’s feet only grew a millimeter, it doesn’t mean it won’t change the fit of tighter shoes.
The Importance of the Right Baby Shoe Sizes
Shoe sizing matters more when you’re walking, right? It’s when you’re walking that you feel discomfort.
This is incorrect.
Babies’ feet constantly develop. If anything restricts this development, it’s not going to go well.
This is why babies should go barefoot often. No restrictions mean their feet can develop by the second.
Pro tip: Barefoot walking can also help develop balance and posture. Naturally stabilizing shoes may help them but slow down their learning for when they are barefoot.
If natural foot development becomes restricted, deformities can occur.
Up until the 20th century, little Chinese girls had their feet bound in tiny shoes and bandages. This was to ensure their feet stayed dainty and fashionable.
The practice worked because their feet didn’t get a chance to develop properly. Once this development stopped, the results were permanent.
As much as an underdeveloped toe may impact a baby’s future growth, it can also impede balance and sting self-confidence.
With the wrong shoe size comes muscle atrophy.
If any part of the foot stays restricted for too long, the muscles may atrophy. Atrophy is when muscles waste away from disuse, injury or disease and become difficult to move. In this case, the injury is caused by the cramped toes, creating a permanent disfigurement/injury.
Correct shoe sizing is vital to prevent this atrophy.
Muscle atrophy can happen at any age, and will mainly impact the toes, which you’ll know about if you’ve checked out our how to stretch tennis shoes guide.
If the toes sit pointing inwards all day, that’s how the muscles will get used to sitting. Plus, there’ll be no room to wiggle so the muscles won’t be in use.
The last and least dangerous issue that can come from the wrong shoe size is injuries.
Injuries range from tripping due to discomfort to ailments, such as bunions or blisters.
Think of your last bunion and how uncomfortable it was. With the wrong shoe size, your baby may have to suffer through the same ordeal.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Measure a Child’s Shoe Size?
To measure a child’s shoe size, measure the distance between the top of the longest toe to the heel.
What Does C Mean in Baby Shoe Size?
In a baby shoe size, C stands for “child.” If you see a Y in there too, it means “youth.”
Is Newborn and 0–3 the Same Size?
Whether newborn and 0–3 is the same size depends on the brand. In brands where newborn and size 0–3 both exist, 0–3 will fit larger newborns better.
The Closing Step
Despite what well-wishing friends and relatives say, baby’s shoe sizes matter. It’s the same whether the baby takes the same size in every shoe or for different brands.
Because a baby’s foot development is rapid, you need to measure well and measure often. Make sure you keep the shoes up to date, too.