How Long Should Shoes Last – How Many Pairs of Shoes Should Your Kid Have?

I work for a specialized children’s shoe store and one of the most common questions that parents ask me is: How long should shoes last? Children should always outgrow their shoes before they are ready to be replaced. Depending on your child’s age you should be getting ready to replace the shoes between 3 to 6 months.

Your kid’s feet tolerate a lot of pressure since they are always on the move. It is important that you take care of your kids’ feet from an early stage by providing them with good, supportive shoes to avoid foot, leg, and back pain. Wearing the right type of shoes that provides support and stability helps keep their feet healthy and prevent injuries.

Are your kid’s shoes all worn out before they are ready to be replaced? Have your kids made a hole through their shoes? Is the sole of the shoe flattening down? Children should always outgrow their shoes before anything happens to them.

I have seen very few cases where kids were so active and so rough on their shoes that the shoes needed to be replaced before the kids outgrew them.

How Long Should Kid’s Shoes Last?

I always explain to parents that children should always outgrow their shoes before they destroy them. However, kids are all different and they won’t hit their growth spurts at the same time. How long their shoes last will mostly depend on the age of the child.

That being said, every child grows at a different rate but below you can find a set of guidelines so you can have an idea of how long your child’s shoes should last:

➡️ Between ages 1–3 you should be replacing shoes every 3 to 3 ½ months.

➡️ Between ages 3–6 you should be replacing shoes every 5 to 5 ½ months.

➡️ Between ages 6–10 you should be replacing shoes every 5 to 5 ½ months.

➡️ Between ages 11–18 you should be replacing shoes every 5 ½ to 6 months.

Remember that children’s feet grow at different rates as they grow up. Frequent checks and visits to your local kids’ shoe store will guarantee that your child is not wearing the wrong shoe size.

Please keep in mind that children have unpredictable growth spurts and in some cases, they might go several months without any shoe changes and then suddenly grow a whole size or more. The guidelines above are just estimates and keep in mind that the older the child gets, the faster the shoes start wearing down.

As soon as your kids start getting older they will start playing harder and at a more competitive level, and that is when the shoes start wearing down faster. In certain cases, you might have to replace the shoes even though your child has not completely outgrown them yet.

You shouldn’t be concerned if your child’s feet are not growing as fast.

If your child seems to grow at a faster rate than normal don’t be concerned either. I don’t want you to try to leave extra room just so that your child can wear the shoes for a longer period of time. Leaving extra room will create problems for your child’s feet such as compromising your kids’ stability and developing foot issues such as blisters, calluses, or corns. I explain how fast kids grow in more detail in another article.

Now let’s move on to answer the question about how many pairs of shoes your child should have.

Should your Child Wear the Same Shoes Every Day? 

Not everyone can afford more than one pair of everyday shoes for their children. However, there are certain times of the year when your child will need a pair of summer sandals or a pair of winter boots. Ideally, different types of shoes should be worn depending on the climate conditions and how active your child is.

Your child can rotate his everyday sneakers with his/her seasonal footwear, and that would be a great thing to do! I provide a set of guidelines to give you an idea of how many shoes a child might need for the different seasons of the year.

During the summertime, I believe that children need 2 to 3 pairs of shoes:

  • One pair of everyday sneakers —Yes, I know your child will spend most of his or her time in sandals, but they still need the support from a sneaker.
  • One pair of water sandals —By water sandals I mean the kind that can get wet.
  • One pair of flip flops or Crocs —These are good for walking on the beach or going to the swimming pool and coming back.


  • A pair of dressy sandals.
  • A pair of rain boots.
  • A pair of dress shoes.

During the wintertime, I believe that children need two to three pairs of shoes:

  • A pair of everyday sneakers.
  • A pair of insulated hiking boots.


  • One pair of snow boots.
  • One pair of rain boots.
  • A pair of dress shoes.

During back to school:

  • A pair of sneakers.
  • A pair of school shoes.


  • A pair of dress shoes.

I know it might seem like a lot of shoes for a growing child, but when you think about it, some of the shoes I mention are necessary for that particular season.

For example, you wouldn’t want your kids’ feet to get too cold during the winter by not providing them with a pair of snow boots. At the same time, your child will need a pair of summer sandals to play on during those hot days.

I know it seems like a lot of shoes, but all these shoes serve a particular function!

Why Is Rotating Shoes Important?

Has your child ever come home from a rainy day with soaking wet shoes? The first thing they want to do is to take their shoes and socks off! Hopefully, your child will have a spare shoe that he/she can switch to!

Not everyone can afford two pairs of shoes for their child. In that case, make sure you are replacing the shoes at the first sign of tear. Remember that the structure of the shoe has a lot to do with the life and the breakdown of it. Softer and unsupportive shoes will breakdown faster than harder, more structured shoes.

While working at a children’s shoe store, I realized how much more fun it is for girls to get new shoes than for boys.

Girls are always excited to pick out new shoes and will tell their parents as soon as their shoes start feeling a bit tight!

Boys will come to the store wearing a whole shoe size too small and they won’t even complain about it!

 One Pair of Sneakers for Your Child – Choose Them Wisely!

Most families provide their kids with one pair of everyday sneakers. You must always choose a good, supportive pair to provide everyday support to your child’s feet and legs.

Children’s shoes play a key role in their daily lives since children are still growing, developing, and working on their balance and coordination. Shoes can offer protection from the elements, minimize slippage, and provide adequate support that allows children to live an active, healthy life.

I put together a selection of the best everyday shoes for children. They are the best shoes for kids in terms of durability and support, and for the fact that they are available in medium, wide, and extra wide widths!

The shoes below will fit a child that has medium (M), wide (W), or extra wide (XW) feet choose the width accordingly. Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links and we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you click our links and make purchases.

How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape

If you want to be sure about what shoe size to order online, I suggest that you follow the instructions on how to measure your kids’ foot.

How Many Pairs of Shoes Should Your Child Have?

When it comes to their everyday footwear, children need at least one pair of good supportive sneakers to wear for their everyday activities. As long as the shoe is supportive and fitted properly, that’s all your child needs. However, it would be ideal to have at least 2 different pairs of shoes that your child will be able to alternate between. If you can afford it great, but if you can’t, then don’t worry about it because all your child needs is one good supportive shoe.

I know what some parents are thinking: “Two pairs of sneakers for my child that will outgrow them in 4 months? It seems like a waste of money!

Trust me, I get it! But as your child starts getting older and the shoes start wearing down faster, there are certain benefits of providing them with more than one pair of shoes. Besides, if your children are wearing down their shoes faster than expected, providing them with more than one shoe will extend  the life of both shoes.

As children start getting older, they will be rougher on the shoes. Physical education classes will get more intense, and the sports they might be playing at recess will get more competitive. Let me dig a little deeper into the benefits of rotating your kid’s shoes every other day and how many pairs of shoes your child will need for each particular season.

Benefits of Providing Your Child with Two Pairs of Sneakers

The benefits of providing your child with two pairs of sneakers and rotating the shoes are:

➡️ It will allow you to dry them out if they get wet. When people think about shoes getting wet they might think of a rainy day, but keep in mind that kids’ feet tend to sweat a lot and being able to air them or wash them will remove any sort of bacteria that might be building up in the shoe.

➡️ It will extend the life of the shoe by slowing down the breakdown process.

➡️ It will offer relief to sore foot muscles. By wearing the same shoe every day, we are overusing the same foot and leg muscles.

How many pairs of shoes do you provide your child with? Do your kids tend to destroy their shoes before they outgrow them? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below so we can all benefit from them!