Kids grow faster than smoke clouds from a fire, so finding shoes that fit can be a struggle.
It’s tempting to cheat and get shoes too large, thinking that they’ll grow into them. You should never do this!
Children’s feet need as much protection and stability as your own, especially as they’re growing.
In this kids shoe sizing guide, we cover:
- Measuring feet at home.
- How often to measure kids’ feet.
- A helpful size chart.
- Ensuring a perfect fit.
Measuring Kids’ Feet at Home
It seems like kids grow an inch each day, feet included. But you don’t want to haul your kids to the shoe store every time your child’s shoes become too tight.
Instead, they behave better if you bring several pairs home for them to try.
To know what sizes you should be shopping for, you need to get measuring.
Try either of these two methods:
The Line Method
The first of our methods only measures the length. It’s easiest in terms of finding the outright size.
- Draw a line straight down a page (portrait) using a ruler.
- Place the paper on a hard, smooth surface, against a straight wall.
- Have the child step onto the paper—center of big toe along the line.
- Draw a line along the top of the toe.
- Repeat with the other foot.
- Measure the centerline, up to the mark you made.
- Refer to the size guide later in this article.
The Tracing Method
For a more comprehensive indicator of length and width, try this simpler method:
- Trace your child’s feet.
- Carefully cut as close to the outside of the line as possible.
- Tape the paper to some firm cardboard, and cut that to size.
- Bring this to the shoe store with you.
Now you have a near-perfect copy of your child’s feet. You can place them in shoes and see how they fit length and width-ways.
For further accuracy, place the cutouts inside a pair of your child’s socks before testing.
How Often Should I Measure My Kid’s Feet?
Your kids will grow rapidly for their first four years. It’s important to measure their feet frequently during this time.
Aim for every 6–8 weeks from when your kid starts wearing shoes—even shoes that are just for show.
During growth spurts, you may want to do this more frequently, perhaps every two weeks.
It seems excessive to measure their feet every two months, though, doesn’t it? Roomy shoes or a slight, not painful pinch never hurt anyone.
First of all, that’s not true.
A too-large kids’ shoe can cause the feet to slide around inside them, causing falls. They may be minor accidents, but you want to be safe, and kids enjoy scratched hands and knees.
It’s even more important that the shoes aren’t too tight as the feet grow.
Your kids are growing. Poorly fitting kids shoes can restrict healthy growth—if you don’t believe this, look at China.
In China, tiny feet were the desirable anatomy for girls. To achieve this, kids’ feet would be bound, and tiny kid shoe sizes were used to restrict growth, resulting in disfigured feet and restricted growth.
Of course, nothing so drastic will happen with your kids, but a study shows that most kids wear the wrong size shoes.
Kids’ Shoe Size Chart
These kids’ shoe size chart tables show kids’ shoe sizes from infancy to tween years.
Young Child (4–7 Years)
Older Child (7–12 Years)
How to Use the Sizing Chart
Compare the measurements you took of your child’s feet to the sizes listed. Each size corresponds with a length.
If a size is a couple of millimeters too small, go for the next size up. Do this even if your child’s feet are closer to the small size. Too big is less hazardous than too tight.
Ensuring a Perfect Fit
Although the measurements may line up and the cardboard sits in the shoe without bending, the size still might not be ideal.
You need to take further steps when you bring the shoes home or when you’re in the store.
Fit to the Larger Size
It’s common that in a kid’s pair of feet, one is larger than the other, which extends into adulthood.
So, fit the shoes to whichever is the largest. It’s better to have one slightly too loose than one too tight.
Measure in the Evening
The more you use your feet during the day, the more they swell. This leads to feet being larger at the end of the day.
To make sure the shoes are comfortable all day, measure when they’re at their largest.
For babies, if they don’t walk, the time of day doesn’t matter.
Examine the Width
The widest part of your foot is the ball. You’ll find this just beneath the toes. If this area doesn’t fit comfortably in the shoe, the shoe size is too small.
Check for Space
Although kids shoes should be snug, there should be about half an inch of space after the big toe ends. Make sure this space is present, so the feet have room to move and grow.
Have kids move around when wearing new shoes. The shoe sizes may be inflexible for your child’s gait. This is far from ideal for kids’ shoes, so try new sizing.
Once the kid’s feet grow by 0.2 inches, it’s time to try new shoe sizes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Are Children’s Shoe Sizes?
Sometimes, children’s shoe sizes are different with certain brands. One rule to follow is that a number and a “T” means it’s a toddler size, and a “K” stands for kids. But for brands with regular sizing, check out our charts above.
What Is the Difference Between Toddler and Little Kid Shoe Size?
The difference between toddler and little kid shoe size is that toddlers’ sizes are from around ages 2–4, whereas little kids are typically 4–7.
What Age is Size 4 Toddler Shoes?
The ideal age for size 4 toddler shoes differs from brand to brand and child to child. Usually, it’s about 6–12 months or, for more specific brands, 9–12 months. Check out our ultimate baby shoe sizing guide for more information.
Kids grow super fast, so keep track of their measurements and update their sizing frequently.
It’s simple to find kids’ shoes if you take the measurements right. Keep experimenting, be careful, and keep the shoes and shoe size up to date. Refer back to the shoe size chart as needed.
We hope you found this guide useful, and if you did, share it with family and friends, and leave us a comment below.