How Fast Do Kids’ Feet Grow? – Learn About When You Should Replace Your Kids’ Shoes
You should always check and make sure that your child has not outgrown his/her shoes, as shoes that are too short or too narrow can create a myriad of foot issues. One of the most common questions parents ask me at the children’s shoe store where I work is: “How fast do kids’ 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.
My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience!
I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years now, and we specialize in fitting children with “complex” foot shapes as well as special foot needs, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. Over the years I became familiar with how often parents need to replace their kids’ shoes.
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! 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. These guidelines should be taken as an estimate since every child grows at a different rate.
1️⃣ 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.
2️⃣ 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.
3️⃣ 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.
4️⃣ Children between the ages of 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 of when to visit your kids’ shoe store. You must remember that children grow in spurts and they don’t 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 outsole of the shoe will start to wear down and won’t provide the same cushion and support as it first did when the shoes were new. The outsole 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 outsole, 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 also starts wearing out 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. Below you can find the difference between a shoe with a soft heel counter versus one with a firm 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.
How Much Growing Room is Too Much Growing Room? – Let’s Find Out!
Leaving some growing room for your kids to grow into the shoe is extremely important to avoid outgrowing the shoes faster than expected. As a standard rule of thumb, I recommend providing children with 3/8 of an inch between your kids’ longest toe and the end of the shoe to allow for growing room.
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 I created where I describe this in 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.
I only write reviews of shoes that I have fitted before, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to tell how well-made the shoes are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
The Most Affordable and Supportive Kids’ Shoes
The shoes below will fit a child with medium (M), wide (W), or extra wide feet (XW).
What Shoe Size You Should Order?
In each of the descriptions of the shoes, I indicate whether you need to order a half size or a whole size bigger than your child’s current foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.
Keep your Kids’ Feet Healthy! – Follow my Guidelines
Now that you have a better idea of how fast 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:
Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?
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 agree with my guidelines on 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.