How to Select the Right Size Shoe for Your Child

When you’re shopping for shoes for your child, it’s tempting to go for the cutest pair that you see in the store. However, it’s important to remember that the best shoes for your child are the ones that depend on fit and function first. Proper fitting shoes are essential to foot health and development, especially since children’s feet can continue to grow until they’re 18 years old. To get a pair of properly fitting shoes, you need to know how to select the right size shoe for your child – which isn’t always easy. Keep reading to learn simple solutions to finding your child’s perfect size. 

Basic Measurement

Finding the right pair of children’s shoes starts with measurement. One of the most basic ways to find your child’s shoe size is to measure their feet. Make sure they’re standing for the most accurate measurement! There are a couple of measured approaches you can take. For both options, you’ll need to grab a pen, paper, and a ruler before you begin.

Have your child stand on the paper, with their back against the wall, and use your ruler to measure the length and width of their feet. Another option is to trace the outline of their feet on the paper; add a centimeter to the length to allow for wiggle room. Make it similar to an arts and crafts project for restless children and to increase the fun factor! Measurement tip: wait until the end of the day to measure, since kids’ feet can swell after a long day of playing.

Don’t Forget the Socks

During shoe try-on time, make sure to have them wear socks for the most accurate fit. When your child is wearing their new pair of shoes at school or during physical activity, they’ll likely be wearing socks. To find the right size shoe for your child, you’ll want to ensure that the fit will be as close to their regular wear as possible. Whether you’re in-store or at home, your child should try the shoes on with the exact same type of socks that they’ll be wearing with that pair of shoes. Remember that shoe size can vary depending on the thickness of the type of socks.

Use Your Thumb

Length, width, and depth are all crucial to the fit of your child’s shoe. They should be able to freely wiggle their toes without feeling too squished or loose. An easy way to check the size is by using your thumb. Feel at the front of their shoe to make sure there isn’t any increased pressure due to their toes pressing up against the shoe at the front or sides. You should allow for around 1 to 2 cm (approximately half of an inch) between their longest toe to the front of the shoe.

If it’s too tight at the front, you may need to go up in size or go for a wide-length shoe. You can also look for shoes with a rounded toe box to give their toes more room. Children’s shoes should always be comfortable from the start. If the shoes aren’t comfortable, they aren’t the right shoe or size for your child.

Check the Heel

With so much concern surrounding accidentally buying shoes that are too small, many forget that you can end up buying shoes that are too large. Your child’s shoe should fit snugly without being too tight, from toe to heel. When they’re trying on their shoes, have them walk a few steps ahead of you and pay close attention to their heels. If it slips up and down, the shoe size may be too large, which could cause trips or falls when they’re being active. The friction could even cause blisters on their heel. Go down by a half or whole size and check the heel fit again.

Material Matters

Children’s feet tend to sweat more profusely than the feet of an adult. To help improve the airflow, be on the lookout for a shoe that has an upper part that was made using a more breathable material like canvas, cloth, mesh, or leather. These materials will allow for better circulation of air in and out of their shoes and provide more flexibility and comfort for your child.

Finding the Right Shoe Size

The right size shoe and fit cannot be stressed enough. Even though it can be tricky and take time to find a properly fitting shoe, it’s well worth it to support the foot health and development of your child. Children’s feet grow in spurts, with them needing new shoes around every four to six months. Make sure that you measure and fit their shoes to get them started on the right foot.


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