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How Can I Make Sure My Kids’ Shoes Fit? – Learn The Secret Here!


I always explain to parents that the best way to make sure that their children’s shoes fit is to take their kids to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store that they trust. The issue is that most children’s shoe stores have been closing down, and chances are that if you are reading this article you don’t have a store in your area. I get contacted by several families who don’t have a local shoe store and seem to have one question in common: How can I make sure my kids’ shoes fit?

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience!

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now that focuses on helping children with “complicated” foot shapes as well as foot and leg problems, but provides regular shoe fittings as well. I am familiar with which are the best children’s shoe brands and which are the best shoe styles among those brands.


Most Common Mistakes Parents Make

The most common mistake I see parents make when buying shoes for their children is focusing too much on the amount of space that their kids will have to grow into their shoes. Once I am done fitting a child in a pair of shoes parents tend to immediately ask: “Is there enough room for my child to grow into the shoes?”

I always explain to them how I left the appropriate amount of growing room, which is 3/8 of an inch between the child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes. If I happen to go any longer, I might end up compromising the child’s stability and make him/her more prone to falling.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how much length space you leave for your child to grow into the shoes, if you fail to provide your child with the correct shoe width (narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide), your child might end up outgrowing the width of the shoes faster than the length. This means that you will end up having to replace the shoes even if there is still space in the front of the shoes.

How Can I Make Sure My Kids’ Shoes Fit? – Follow These 3 Simple Steps 

Making sure that your children’s shoes fit requires awareness of your child’s foot growth and multiple trips to your kids’ shoe store, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

I have helped several parents realize that they should have gone to the store much earlier. They often end up feeling so bad about cramping their kids’ toes in the shoes.

If you don’t have a local children’s shoe store that you trust, you should follow the guidelines below to make sure your kids’ shoes are fitting properly:

1️⃣ Make sure that your child stands up straight and check if there is enough wiggle/growing room in the front of the shoes (you should allow approximately 3/8 of an inch between the longest toe and the end of the shoe). You can remove the inner sole of the shoe and have your child stand on them to be able to visualize the amount of growing room better.

2️⃣ Check whether the width of the shoe is fitting correctly. Check the widest part of the foot, and make sure the small toe or the pinky toe is not being pressed against the side of the shoe. If the shoes are too narrow for your kids’ feet, you will notice a bump right around this area of the shoe.

3️⃣ Make sure there is no extra space around the heels. You can check this by sliding your finger around the heel, if you feel like you can fit one or two fingers around the heel area it means that the shoes are too wide. You don’t want your child’s shoes moving up and down since this can lead to blisters, calluses, or corns.


If you check all three steps and everything looks good, your child is all set up! This will guarantee that your kids’ shoes fit.

Now that you know how shoes are supposed to fit, you should have the peace of mind that the shoes your child is wearing are the correct size. Remember that children impose an enormous amount of stress not only on their feet, but their legs also. Some children live more active lifestyles than adults do!

Children should always outgrow their shoes before they destroy them. If you want to get a better idea of how fast do children’s feet grow based on their age, I wrote a post about how long should shoes last for children. Go to the link below:

How Fast Do Kids’ Feet Grow? – Learn About When You Should Replace Your Kids’ Shoes

Are You Having a Hard Time Finding Shoes for Your Child?

Do not hesitate to contact me directly at my e-mail if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes for your child. My e-mail address is:


Do you have a good-fitting children’s shoe store in your area that you trust? Please let us know in the comments section below since other parents might benefit from your input.


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Do You Buy Your Kids’ Shoes Online?

Subscribe and get my personalized shoe size chart for free to help you find what size to order online.

Shoe Sizing Chart

24 Comments on How Can I Make Sure My Kids’ Shoes Fit? – Learn The Secret Here!

  1. Hi Juan Pablo
    What a great website and advice. As a mother of a 3-year-old boy, I often wonder if my son’s shoes are fitted properly, as he doesn’t say if he is comfortable or not. I don’t have a children shoe store in my area so I always go with the shoes you recommend. I just wanted to say thanks!

  2. Hi, Juan.

    This is awesome information. We used to buy our kids’ shoes at Nordstrom’s and my kids’ always ended up with the wrong shoe size. Then we started buying shoes online but we were never 100% sure if the shoes fitted properly. I also did not know what ‘instep of the foot’ is, also the terms ‘heel counter’ and ‘ankle support’.

    You are spot on, parents do undervalue the importance of proper shoe fitting! I am one (was one before reading this).

    You just provided me with very valuable insight on how I should fit my children’s shoes the next time. This will be read by my wife as well.



  3. Do you know where I can find extra wide soccer cleats? Or if they even exist? My child has really extra wide feet and no shoes seem to fit him! He also loves to play soccer but he always complains about his feet feeling tight. I know I am off topic here but let me know please.

  4. Hi Juan

    I have a 2 year old son and his feet grow quite fast, we are constantly buying new shoes.During the day when he plays outside he wares rubbery type shoes that have movement space and stretch by the wide part of the foot, he seems to be very comfortable in those.

    If he wears other shoes that are uncomfortable he usually ends up kicking or taking them off. Now I know how to check if his shoes fit or not, and that is a great asset for me since I always have to order my kids shoes online. At least now I know if his shoes fit or not. Thank you sir!



    • Kamil,

      I’m glad you found the post informative! Keep an eye on his shoes specially if you tend to order them online. Anytime you have a specific question please let me know and I will answer you as soon as possible.



  5. Thank you for another useful post. In one of your previous posts I learnt about instep and now I learn that kid will outgrow the width faster than the length. And you are so right again. I didn’t think about this before as I was one of those parents thinking about the room for the feet to grow lengthwise but your information does make sense. My son has very wide feet so this is very important point for me.

  6. Hi Juan,

    I was on your site conducting some research for senior project at RIT.
    I am currently a senior in the industrial design program at RIT. And I was wondering what your thoughts would be on a shoe that could change sizes? The shoe could be for the slightly older kids who wouldn’t fidget with their shoes too much and maybe they could expand the shoe up one size or up a half size. Any thoughts would be awesome, thanks. This would be to relieve parents of the constant struggle of having to buy sneakers so often.


    • Hello Noah,

      While it sounds like a great idea, I would be concerned about the shoe wearing down after children wear them for a while. Just so you have an idea, most children outgrow their shoes every 4 to 5 months. When the shoes are ready to be replaced, you can tell because they have been wore out. Let’s say you can expand the shoe to last another 4 to 5 months, the shoe will have to be extremely well made to hold up properly.

      Another thing that concerns me is if the shoe will expand in length and also in the width area.Keep in mind that several children outgrow their shoes in the width faster than the length. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  7. Hi, thank you so much for your help. So I went back to my notes and designs and came to the conclusions that I would be either creating a shoe that can change width or change size but not both. I also decided that I wanted to focus more on the the early teens, ie. middle and early highschool, ages 12-17. And I was wondering if you had any more info regarding that age range. Or even what comments parents usually have or concerns that might come up with their teens. I did however like the wodth problem. That is one I think could be solved. Do you know how fast a teen’s foot expands in width? Or if there are people who ignore this and possibly solutions you would reccomend. Also, what kind of shoes have seen last longer than others and what sort of materials have you noticed, that hold up better than others? Again any help would be great, thanks.

    • Hello Noah,

      Parents main concern about their children shoes during their teen years is durability, since their children are not growing as fast (normally change a ½ size to a whole shoe size every 6 to 8 months).
      The shoe that you are planning to make is it going to be targeted as a fitting shoe or more as a fashion shoe?
      A fitting shoe is what you will see in local, generally family owned shoe store, and fashion shoes you will see more in shopping malls and big retailers. A fitting shoe comes in half sizes and different widths such as medium , wide , and extra wide, while fashion shoes normally only feet medium feet.
      Most parents are not aware of their children having wide or extra wide feet, and normally during those teens years, children refuse to wear anything that is not “fashionable enough”. Good luck and I hope this helps!

  8. I am unsure what size my son wears. I measured his feet with the paper pencil and cloth measuring tape in inches. I got right foot: 7 3/4in length 3 1/4in width left foot: 7 1/2in length 3in width. It looks like he would be a size 1? But the guy at New Valance measured him last spring and said he was a 3. So he’s been wearing a 3 but they can’t get tight enough and seems like a lot of wiggle room (widthwise). PLEASE HELP?!!!

  9. Hi Juan,
    I need your help! My 8yo son was measured for shoes back in the Spring at a few different places. His size ranged from 2-3. At the New Balance store we were told he should wear a size 3 shoe so we bought a pair there. Well like always we left the store and a few weeks of wearing them he’s complaining they are too loose and aren’t tight enough. So I decided to use your measuring chart… however I’m still confused about what size and type I should be purchasing for him. Left foot: 7 1/2”L 3”W. Right foot 7 3/4” L 3 1/4”W. Those were his actual measurements I did not subtract anything from those numbers yet. I feel like I’m general his feet are in the narrow side. Cleats, hockey skates etc all seem to be “roomy” widthwise. Please help me figure out what athletic/running shoe (sneaker) size he is!!!!
    Thanks Dani

    • Hello Dani,

      I am sure they used the Brannock measurement device at the New Balance store and that is the most accurate form of measurement (if they did it right). Does your son usually likes his shoes feeling nice and snug?
      I am thinking the issue might not be the shoe size, but maybe the velcro closure (it might not put enough pressure in his feet, which leads to the heels moving and the foot moving too much inside the shoe), or it might be that the phone runs long and you need a smaller size. If you can provide me with the style number of the shoe you got him I can definitely tell you how it runs.

      IF we go by our chart, his shoe size will be 1 1/2 in a medium width. Please provide me with the shoe style so I can provide you better feedback!Thanks

      • Thanks for your respond, sorry about the multiple messages. We bought him the New Bakance 996. Tags says: M KJ996HBY. They are lace up shoes and he has them tied as tight as possible (laces are touching). I am looking to purchase him another pair that are more of a running sneaker than a “street” sneaker. These have fabric on the toe area so i think it creates more “wiggle” room too. He does prefer a snugger feel.
        Thank you so much

        • Hello Danielle,

          He can wear those type of shoes as his “casual shoes”, but I wouldn’t wear them as his everyday shoes since they don’t provide the correct amount of support.

          I think we need something with a narrower, well padded heel. If you want to stick with New Balance I recommend this shoe style: New Balance Shoe Style

          For this shoe style I will try a shoe size 2 or 2 1/2 for your son.

          I don’t know if you have tried the shoe brand named Asics before, but he might like how they feel since they are cut narrower than New Balance shoes. Here you can find an example:

          Asics Shoes for Kids In this shoe brand I will definitely try the shoe size 3.

          Please let me know if this helps!

  10. Hi, I’m having a hard time finding the proper shoe size for my son. We’re trying to order him boots for Christmas. Length wise, his foot measures 5 7/8 inches. This would put him, according to size charts, at an 8 or 8.5. Currently, he wears a size 7 and it seems to fit him with space in front of his toe. In fact we have two or three pairs of size 7 shoes which he doesn’t wear because they are too big! I pulled out a pair of size 7-8 rain boots and he’s got about an inch of space there. Is there a reason everything seems to be measuring so differently?

    • Hello Mary,

      The best way to figure out your kids’ shoe size is to use the Brannock device which is the most accurate foot measuring tool. The size chart that I provide does help but at the end is also how the shoes are cut. For example, rain boots tend to run long and they don’t come in half sizes. I believe a size 7 rain boot should give him plenty of space for him to grow into (we do want growing room specially with seasonal footwear that they might wear once in a while). I hope this helps!

  11. Im so happy I googled what is the best type of shoe for my 3 year old who has flat, fat, wide feet and thank God your article stood out to me. When looking online I was overwhelmed because I truly didnt know what shoe was best for my son and looking online it was running shoes, walkimg shoes, basketball shoes, casual shoes so on and so forth lol. I read first the beat shoes for ypur child with flat and wide feet(I believe that is what the article is called. I usually am one to keep up with sons needs in the shoe area because unfortunately childrens feet grow faster then those ignorant weeds we hate to see, anyways lately my grandmother has been on my tail about getting my son feet sized the right way at a child shoe store, unfortunately there is no stores that have dedicated and passionate workers as yourself. Now adter reading your articles I completely feel like I have neglected my sons feet, because I kinda just brushed off my grandmothers remarks on his feet getting properly fitted, because I thought I had gotten his feet properly sized but after reading ypur forums I was highly mistaken and mislead to beleive that footaction, kid foot locker etc sized him the right way. They done what I’ve been used to with the metal sizing tool and I figured it was right. There nosbway that it would be right becauae they no less then a min to get his size… Welp looks like grandmother is right again
    I even bookmarked these forums to use as a reference and to summarize up for her. I FEEL SO TERRIBLE that I ended up failing my sons feet and now it’s actually starting to take a toll on him because if hes on his feet and very actively wearing shoes he will complain his feet, legs, hurt and sometimes he saids his knees hurt,this is why my grandmother been pressuring me to do some research to find a childs shoe store to get his properly fitted (it’s so super hsrd ti keep his shoes on in the house even in the car or at friends or family’s house he rushing to pull those shoes off and most times when I ask why he took them off hebsaid because they hurt and I even started saying Malachi its in your head you just don’t like shoes. So now that he complains more about his feet hurting I chuck it up t being growing pains from growth spurts. I’m so glad I’ve read this because it is time for him to get new shoes which I rather by him so every month then to have him in pain, however I am guilty of being that parent who buys him a pair if name brand shoes (Jordans, Nike, timberlands etc) and a pair or two of cheap shoes to play in. I honeslty thought he was fitted right and he was wearing rhe right shoes size this has open my eyes so much and not only for my son bht even for myself and my son father who we all have flatter feet becasue personally for me my lower back ans knees constanly hurt ne and my son father always complains about his feet hurting (also hisn mother would make him cram his feet into hand me downs and now it makes sense to why he has alot of rough spots and callouses on his feet. I am so sorry to write this comment so super long but in all honesty your articles are life-changing and mind altering because shoes are more than a accessory or fashion statement and I cant believe how wrong I was and I am so glad to read this because now I can protect my sons feet and body before its to late and even ease both my fiance and my pain. Thank you for having the passion to not only help your customers but for sharing yohr knowledge which is not only appericated bit will now be used everytime I purchase any sboes. I have booked marked nore than 4 of your articles, Thank you and maybe one day you can own your own childrens shoe store I know i would pay for just your services!!!

    • Hello Wendy,

      I am glad you found the website informative. If your child is 3 years old you should be replacing his shoes every 3 to 4 months if they are fitted properly. I always try to explain parents about the importance of well fitted shoes, sine they play a key role in keeping our kids’ feet and legs healthy.Anytime you are unsure about how a particular shoe style fits or you can’t seem to find a specific shoe please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will help you find it.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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