One of the most common questions parents I get at the children’s shoe store that I work at is: “How fast do kid’s feet grow?”
I was encouraged to create this article to clear out all the doubts regarding the right time to replace your kid’s shoes.
I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 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 to my mind is that you either fitted the shoes too short or too long to begin 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!
If you replace your kids’ shoes once a year, don’t be surprised if the shoes start looking like that!
Your kid’s shoes shouldn’t 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 kid’s 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 low quality shoes that are getting destroyed too fast.
One thing that should be clear is: 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!
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 kid’s 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.
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:
Here you can see an example of a shoe that has been worn for a while and has a soft heel counter:
If your kids 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 advise 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 compromising 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:
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 length of 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.
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 has taken 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 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bear 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.
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.
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:
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.