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

Kids Shoe Sizes Inches

One of the most common questions parents ask me at the children’s shoe store that I work at is: “How fast do kids’ feet grow?”

I decided to create this article to clear out all the doubts about which is the right time to replace your kids’ shoes. 

I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last ten years now, and I know everything that relates to children’s feet and their shoes.The shoe store specializes in fitting children with special foot needs, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. I know which shoe styles and shoe brands are better than others from actually having fitted the shoes myself.

Throughout the years I have gotten familiar with how most shoe styles fit (short, long, narrow, or wide), which shoe styles provide more support than others, and how long shoes should last based on the child’s age.

Because of my experience in fitting children’s shoes as well as those of my co-workers, I can share with you some interesting facts regarding the growth of children’s feet

I am always shocked when parents come to the store telling me how their kids’ shoes lasted a whole year, or how their kids’ outgrew their shoes in two months. It doesn’t matter how old your children are,  they should never outgrow their shoes as quickly as in two months, and the shoes should  never last as long as a whole year.

It simply doesn’t make any sense. The only thing that comes into my mind is that you either fitted the shoes too short or too long to being with.

There was this family who came to the shoe store asking me if their kids’ shoes were ready to be replaced.The child had worn the shoe for almost a year, but the parents felt that there was still some growing room in the shoes. Below you can find a picture of how the shoes looked.

Does it seem like they are ready to be replaced? You can draw your own conclusions!

The Worst Shoes For Kids

If you replace your kids’ shoes once a year, don’t be surprised if the shoes start looking like that!

Your kids’ shoes should n0t last a whole year, and if they do, then it means that either the shoes where fitted too long to begin with or you have been cramping your kids’ toes in the shoes. On the other hand, your kids shouldn’t be outgrowing their shoes every two months. In this case you are either fitting the shoes too small to begin with (not leaving the correct amount of growing room for your child), or you are providing your child with poorly made shoes that are getting destroyed too fast.

One thing is clear: Children should always outgrow their shoes before they are ready to be replaced. 

How Fast Do Kids’ Feet Grow? – Let’s Find Out!

Keep in mind that the rate of growth depends on the age of the child, so I break it down by age. This guidelines should be taken as an estimate since every child grows at a different rate.

  • Children between the ages 1 to 3 should have their shoes replaced every 3 ½ to 4 months. This means that you should visit your local shoe store 3 times a year. Your child’s feet will grow ½ size to a whole size every 4 months.
  • Children between the ages of 4 to 6 should have their shoes replaced every 4 ½ to 5 months. This means that you should visit your local shoe store 2 to 3 times a year. Your child’s feet will grow ½ size to a whole size every 4 to 5 months.
  • Children between the ages of 7 to 10 should have their shoes replaced every 5 months. This means you should visit your local shoe store 2 times a year. Your child’s feet will grow ½ size to a whole size every 5 to 6 months.
  • Children between the ages 11 to 17 should have their shoes replaced every 5 ½ to 6 months. This means you should visit your local shoe store 2 times a year. Your child’s feet will grow ½ size to a whole size every 6 months.

This should give you an idea on when to visit your kids’ shoe store. You must remember that children have  growth spurts and they not all hit them at the same time. You should not be concerned if your children’s feet are not growing as fast as they should be. Children grow in spurts so they might catch up at anytime!

Grow Bigger Feet

CAUTION – “My Kids’ Shoes Lasted a Whole Year”

Some parents come to the store excited that they didn’t have to replace their kids’ shoes for a whole year. In some rare cases, children’s feet might stay the same size for a whole year. However, even though your kids’ size didn’t change, you must still replace the shoes, even if it means getting the same shoe size.

If your child has been wearing their shoes for a whole year, you are either getting shoes that are too long, or you are cramping their toes in the shoes.

I want parents to understand that it’s okay to  replace their kids’ shoes even if they don’t need a bigger size. The shoe will not provide the same amount of support that your child needs after being worn for a whole year.

The sole of the shoe will start to wear down and won’t provide the same cushion and support than it first did when the shoes were new. The sole of the shoe is the part that minimizes the impact that your kids’ feet and legs take every time they come in contact with the ground. If the shoes don’t provide a supportive sole, then this can lead to your child experiencing foot and leg pain.

Wore Down Shoes

When shoes are worn for a whole year, the heel counter of the shoes will also start wearing down and getting softer. Do you know what the heel counter of the shoe is? The heel counter is the back part of the shoe that provides ankle and heel support.

This is an example of a shoe with a firm heel counter:

firm-heel-counter

Here you can see an example of a shoe that has been worn for a while and has a soft heel counter:

soft-heel-counter

If your children are wearing a shoe with a soft heel counter, then you are making them more prone to experiencing ankle and heel pain. A shoe with a soft heel counter can also lead to ankle sprains.

I always emphasize to parents to not fit their kids’ shoes too long in order for them to wear them longer. This will only end up hurting their feet and compromise their stability, making them more prone to falls and injuries. There is a certain and limited amount of growing room that you can leave for your child to grow into the shoes.

In addition,  we always want to leave around 3/8 of an inch between your kids’ longest toe and the end of the shoe, in order to allow for growing room.

Leaving some growing room for your kids to grow into the shoe is extremely important to avoid outgrowing the shoes faster than expected.

If you want to know exactly how much growing room you can leave for your kids’ feet to grow, you should take a look at an article along with a video I created where I describe this into more detail. Go to the link below:

How To Measure Kids Shoe Size From Home – In Less Than 30 Seconds!

When Will your Kids’ Feet Stop Growing?! – Learn the Facts!

Most girls’ feet stop growing at age 14, while boys’ feet stop growing between the ages of 18 to 20. At the ages mentioned, growth plates have closed and the growth in lengthof the feet has stopped. Keep in mind that even though feet stop growing at certain ages, shoe sizes can change due to several other factors.

For example, the older that we get, the weaker the muscles that support the bones get, which may cause our  bones to move, making the foot bigger.

Arches, for example, may collapse with age which might lead to the feet getting wider.

Measure Kids' Shoes

How Can you Keep Up with your Kids’ Growing Feet? – Keep a Close Eye!

Taking your children regularly to your local shoe store is the best way to keep track of your children’s growing feet.

Don’t wait until you think your child has outgrown the shoes, check regularly to be safe.

There are two times when you should replace your kids’ shoes: 

  • When they have outgrown the shoes.
  • When the shoes start wearing out.

Even though your child might not be ready for a new shoe size, if the shoe is taking a beating from being worn for a long time, you should strongly consider purchasing new shoes for your child, even if it means getting the same shoe size.

Like I mentioned before, children should always outgrow their shoes before anything happens to them. However, it is important to get good quality shoes in order for them to provide good support, stability, and durability.

I have put together a selection of the best fitting children’s shoe styles in terms support, durability, and comfort.

The Most Affordable and Supportive Kids’ Shoes ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Please keep in mind that I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to tell how well-made the shoes are, the amount of support that the provide, and how they fit.

The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the shoe width accordingly).

Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Toddler ShoesToddler ShoesToddler ShoesToddler ShoesToddler ShoesToddler ShoesLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig Kids

This first selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measured in the standard foot measuring scale (Brannock device), in order to allow for growing room.

The shoes below will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet.

ToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig Kids

This selection of shoes fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

Keep your Kids’ Feet Healthy! – Follow my Guidelines

Now that you have a better idea of how fast do kids feet grow, you should constantly check to make sure that they are wearing the correct shoe size.

Don’t forget to provide your child with the correct  type of socks, since socks act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes, and prevent the formation and build up of bacteria inside the shoes. They also prevent infections and the formation of blisters.

Socks are just as important as the shoes you pick when it comes to keeping your kids’ feet healthy. While I can’t get into too much detail about which are the best kids’ socks in this article, I wrote another post where I describe how to make sure you get the correct sock size and which are the best socks for children. Go to the link below:

The Importance Of Wearing Socks – Grippers Or No Grippers?

Do you agree with my guidelines of how fast kids’ feet grow? Are you replacing your kids’ shoes faster than you expected them to last? Please share your thoughts below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

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 kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

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

  1. Your website has a wealth of useful information, and as a parent of a 3-year-old, I’ve learned a lot from reading your posts. I actually have been replacing shoes much more sooner than what you state in your post, so I think your information here might be wrong. I find myself replacing my three year old shoes every 2 to 3 months,

    • Ayako,

      You might be replacing your kids’ shoes every 2 to 3 months because you are not fitting the shoes properly. I believe you might be fitting the shoes too tight. Are you taking him to a children’s shoe store to have his feet properly measured?

  2. I just changed my child to a new pair of shoes this morning. Yesterday his grandmother saw his toes were red and asked me to check his shoes. I gave him this pair less than 2 months ago. And behold! They are already too tight for him.

    Shoes are one of those things you can’t really buy wayyy in advance. I don’t have a particular shoe shop I frequent, so this is a problem every time I need new shoes for him. He’s turning 3 soon. I don’t keep track of how often he changes shoes.

  3. This is awesome info! My wife always complained about how fast our children were growing and was always trying to leave extra room for them. But after I read your post, they weren’t growing so fast, they were growing at the rate they were supposed to!

    Where can I find shoes for a child that plays soccer? Like wide soccer boots? Do they make them wide?

  4. Children’s feet do grow fast, and knowing the methods to measure the feet over time will become helpful for the future. My parents are always complaining about my brother’s feet getting bigger every two months. Obviously they are doing something wrong. Is there a post you have on how to measure children’s feet properly? Maybe I can shoe it to my parents.

    Thanks a lot dude

    All the best

    Lee

  5. Hi Juan. Your site is very informative.

    Your info about how quick their feet grows, I totally agree with what you are saying.

    I haven’t been monitoring how long it takes for us to change the shoes of our children but I believe it is actually approximately a year. We either purchase because it is too small or because it has or is wearing out.

    When we purchase the shoes, our children test them thoroughly and if comfortable we buy them. Not all shoes sizes are the same for every child for e.g. my youngest is 6 but looks 4. she wears shoes for 4/5 year olds because she is petit for her age. But all in all our shoes can last up to a year. There is a very small area of space left in the shoes for growth. At the same time it is not too big nor uncomfortable, loose, or tight. We make sure of that. So far we have had no issues with shoes and no incidents.

    I more or less agree with all you have said. Thank you for the post. I have always wanted to know when the growth stops. I didn’t realize it can take up to 18 years!!!

    • Arif,

      If your kids’ shoes are lasting you a whole year, something is not right. I believe you might be fitting them too long, since kids’ shoes don’t last for a whole year. They outgrow them way before that! Are you taking your kids’ to your local children’s shoe store to have someone measure their feet?

      • Mine lasted 4th through 7th and they looked nearly new when I finally outgrew at the start of 8th grade cross-country. I plan to buy my next pair of shoes 1.5 sizes large and expect them to last at least two years, and longer for casual use.

  6. I take my children to a good shoe store that properly measures feet and tells me the size they need to wear. I have taken my 5 year old to the shoe store every 3 months and she has not changed shoe size for a whole year. Today was the first time I had a hard time putting a pair of shoes on and I checked it and it just started getting to small. When she was younger I was getting different shoes every 2-3 months and yes even then she was getting properly measured. I also work for a podiatrist for the past 3 years so I also know and have seen that some kids feet and grow faster or slower than other kids just like their height. So your information is incorrect.

    • Hello Brandy,

      You are correct, children’s feet do grow at different rates. The purpose of my article is to serve as a guideline for parents to have an idea how long they should be checking their kids’ shoes. However, you should not be replacing your daughter’s shoes once a year even if she hasn’t outgrow them. The shoes start wearing down and even if they don’t have holes on them they don’t provide the same support and they tend to stretch out around the heel area (this leads to the heel counter of the shoe getting softer).

      There could be two reasons why you didn’t have to replace your daughter’s shoes for a whole year. The first might be that the shoes were fitted in the long side in the first place, and the second one that she was due for a growth spur. I am glad you are in good hands and have a children’s shoe store in your area that you trust. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I do get the point you are trying to make but I feel it’s a bit general. My daughter did have the same foot size for over a year and her shoes did last that length of time because she has a few pairs of shoes at any given time so they don’t wear down as quickly. She generally has leather School shoes/ soft indoor school shoes / sports trainers/ sandals / boots / party shoes / slippers all on the go at any given time.

    Also her feet have gone up 4 sizes in the past 12 months – from a U.K. 11 to a UK 1 (she’s 8 years old) and I have her properly measured at a reputable shoe shop so I know it’s not me buying the wrong size to start with. I’m hoping the rapid growth of her feet are a sign she’s due a big growth spurt as she is very short for her age. Her feet are huge for her short height, but she’s always be a kid that’s ‘all feet’. Even as a toddler she had the biggest feet in the group whilst being the shortest.

    • Hello Linda,

      You are correct, the estimates on foot growth I provide are just for a general guidance. The fact is that all children grow at a different pace, but I think it’s important for parents to have a general idea on when they should be checking their children’s shoes.

      Your daughter wore the same shoe size for a year but that’s doesn’t normally happen among children. Maybe the shoes were fitted too long to begin with? Or she was due for a growth spurt… there could be many variables.

      Good thing that you have a local children’s shoe store in the area that you trust so they can keep up with her growing feet!

      Thank you for sharing!

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