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! 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.
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 make any sense!!!
Here is a picture of a pair of shoes a child worn for a whole year. I explained the parent how these shoes should have been replaced a long time ago!
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 child shouldn’t be outgrowing his or her shoes every two months or less. 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.
One thing is clear: Children should always outgrow their shoes before they are ready to be replaced.
Below you can find the answer to the question of how fast do kids’ feet grow. Keep in mind that the rate of growth depends on the age of the child, so I break it down by age.
- 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 for parents to understand that children’s shoes will NOT last a whole year! Remember to replace the shoes even if your child doesn’t need a bigger size. The shoe will not provide the support 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 take every time they come in contact with the ground. If the shoes don’t come with a supportive sole, then this can lead to your child experiencing foot and leg pain.
When shoes are worn for a year, the heel counter of the shoes will also start 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 and has a soft heel counter:
If your child is wearing a shoe with a soft heel counter, then you are making him/her 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.
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:
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 factors!
For example, the older 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 child regularly to your kids’ local shoe store is the best way to keep track of your kids’ growing feet. Don’t wait until you think your child has outgrown the shoes, check regularly to be safe!
Leaving some growing room for your kids to grow into the shoe is extremely important to avoid outgrowing the shoes faster than expected.
The other day, one father came to the shoe store asking me if I thought his kids’ shoes were worn properly after a whole year. Below you can find a picture of those shoes. 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!
When Should you Replace your Kids’ Shoes? – Learn the Facts
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!
The Most Affordable and Supportive Kids’ Shoes – The Secret Revealed!
Below you can find a list of the most supportive shoes for children that also come in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide.
The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly).
This first selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures 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 when to check your kids’ feet, you should constantly check to make sure that they are wearing the correct shoe size. It is important to take your kids’ to your local children’s shoe store that you trust in order to have their feet properly measured and their shoes properly fitted.
Don’t forget to find the right type of socks for your child. Sock act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes, and prevent the formation and build up of bacteria inside the shoes.
Socks are just as important as the shoes you pick when it comes to keeping your kids’ feet healthy! I wrote a post where I describe how to make sure you get the correct sock size and which are the best socks for children. The post is called:
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 and experiences below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.