How to Tell if Children’s Shoes Fit Correctly

Children's sparkly wedding shoes with a pink butterfly embellishment

Correctly fitting shoes are not only comfortable for children to wear, but also ensure their feet aren’t caused any damage by unwanted rubbing or other problems. As children’s feet grow steadily throughout their life, it’s vital they always have the correct fit of shoes.

So here are some useful tips and ideas on ensuring your children’s shoes fit correctly.

In many adults with foot problems, the problems stem from childhood and badly fitting shoes.

The wrong size, width or type of shoe can cause all sorts of damage, especially to growing children.

Children’s feet can grow at a rapid pace, so it’s important they have their feet measured regularly, by a qualified shoe fitter.

Some experts suggest measuring children’s feet every four months, but it’s not always affordable for parents to buy new shoes that regularly, especially if they’re not worn out.

All good shoe shops should shoe fitters available – if there’s no-one on hand to measure your child’s feet and the staff don’t seem too concerned about it, it’s better to move on to a shop that does care.

It’s essential that the length and width of both feet is measured using a shoe fitting gauge, either with your child sitting down or standing up, as feet can differ.

Don’t be alarmed, for example, if one foot is bigger than the other, as this is a common occurrence. In such instances, the larger foot size is the size of the shoe required.

Children’s shoe sizes in the UK range from a tiny size 1, through to a size 13, with half sizes in between. The sizing guide then starts again, running from size 1 upwards with half sizes, which incorporates many older children, teen and adult sizes too.

Fitting Issues

Shoe shopping would be easy for parents if shoes from all the different manufacturers fitted in exactly the same way, but sadly, they’d don’t.

In the same way that clothing sizes differ between brands, so do the size, width and fit of shoes. This is because the materials and the style of the shoe play a part in the overall fit of the footwear.

This is another reason why it’s important to go and try on different shoes after your child’s feet have been measured.

Shop assistants in good children’s shoe shops will be aware of the different fittings between brands and will be able to advise on what would be most suitable for your child.

Ideally, children’s shoes should be made of a soft leather, as this is flexible, breathable and durable.

What’s more, shoes made of soft leather gently mould themselves to your child’s foot, so they’re fully comfortable.

It’s also advisable to avoid slip-on style shoes in young children, as these don’t give as much support as shoes with straps or laces.

Any shoes that do up with laces, have a strap across the foot or do up with a Velcro fastening keep the feet firmly in place in the shoe, but also allow for minor adjustments to be made as and when need be.

It’s also recommended that children’s shoes be flat and without heels, except perhaps on special occasions.

It’s often hard to know when children’s shoes are no longer fitting correctly, unless they’re able to tell you they aren’t comfortable.

As a general rule of thumb, some experts recommend there should be 15mm of surplus length in shoes, as this small amount of extra space allows space for toes and growth.

If you notice there’s no space in your child’s shoe, or their toes seem to be squashed up in the front, then it could well be time to move up a size or two and get a better fitting shoe.

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