How Long Should Shoes Last- How Many Pairs Of Shoes Should Your Child Have?

Tell When Sneakers Are Worn Out

Our kid’s feet tolerate a lot of abuse since kids’ are always on the move. It is important that you take care of your kids’ feet by providing them good, supportive shoes in order to avoid foot,  leg, and back pain. Wearing the right type of shoes that provide support and stability will keep their feet healthy and prevent injuries.

Are you kid’s shoes all worn out when they are ready to be replaced? Have they put a hole through their shoe? Is the sole of the shoe flattening down? Several parents have asked me a common question: How long should shoes last?

The answer is quite simple: Your child SHOULD always outgrow his/her shoes before anything happens to them! I have seen very few cases where the child is so active and so rough on his/her shoe that the shoe needs to be replaced before your child outgrows it. Now, if you want to know how fast children’s feet grow, I wrote a post where I break it down by age and the name of the post is:

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

When it comes to their everyday footwear, children need at least ONE pair of goof supportive sneakers to wear everyday. As long as the shoe is supportive and fitted properly, that’s all your child will need. However, it would be ideal to have at least 2 different styles 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?! There is no way that’s happening!

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

As your child starts getting older, he will be rougher on the shoes he wears. Physical education class will get more intense, and the sports he might be playing at recess will get more competitive. This means the shoes will start wearing down faster than expected.

Throughout this post I will explain the benefits of rotating your kid’s shoes every other day and how many pair of shoes your child will need for each particular season.

Healthy Kids Shoes

The  benefits of providing your child with TWO pair 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 Long Should Kid’s Shoes Last? – Get It Right!

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

With that 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!

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. The guidelines above are just estimates, and keep in mind that the older your child gets, the faster the shoes start wearing down. They start playing harder and at a more competitive level, and that is when shoes start wearing down. In certain cases, you might have to replace the shoes even though your child has no completely outgrown them yet.

Don’t be concerned if your child’s feet are not growing as fast! That is something that you shouldn’t look too much into. It would be beneficial if you tell your shoe fitters about this so that hey can keep that in mind they won’t have to leave a lot of growing room. At the shoe store I work for, parents will always tell me if they have a child that doesn’t grow 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 longer. Leaving extra room will create problems for your child’s feet such as compromising your kids’ stability and developing blisters.

How Long Shoes Last

Should My Child Wear The Same Shoes Every Day? – Test!

Not everyone is able to 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 type 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 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 summer time, I believe that children need two to three 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 winter time, I believe that children need two to three pair 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 such as dirty bucks.


  • A pair of dress shoes.

I know it might seem like a lot of shoes for a growing child for every season, 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. You wouldn’t want to forget to provide your child with a pair of sandals during the summer season, either!

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

Pile Of Shoes

Why Is Rotating Shoes SO 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 can switch to!

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

Do you want to know which are the best children’s sneakers in terms of support and durability? I wrote a post where I break it down by age and describe the best sneakers for kids’. The post is called:

The Best Kids Sneakers – Learn About The Best Shoes For Children Ages 3 Through 10

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!

I came to the conclusion that girls tend to own more pairs of shoes than boys. What do you think? I am curious if you’ve observed this too, and I would love to know how many pairs of shoes do your kids’ have.

 One Pair Of Sneakers For Your Child – Choose Them Wisely!

Most families provide their kids’ with ONE pair of everyday sneakers. You MUST choose a good, supportive pair in order 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 the adequate support that allow children to live an active, healthy life.

Below you can find 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!

How many pair of shoes does your child has? Do you provide your child with one or two pair of everyday sneakers? Does he or she tend to wear the shoes down faster than you expect them to? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so we can all benefit from them!


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.

27 Comments on How Long Should Shoes Last- How Many Pairs Of Shoes Should Your Child Have?

  1. Although I don’t have kids of my own, I have friends with kids and I see them quite often. Thank you for the shoe suggestions because now I know that they get switched around more often than I had thought. They would make great birthday or Christmas gifts!

    How do you feel about the arguments that kids should not wear shoes for too long period of time vs adults because their feet are still growing? I think unless the show is on for days on end, it doesn’t really matter.


  2. Haha my girl has at least 6 pairs of shoes that she likes to wear on a daily basis (that’s all 6 every day at some point) then the boys have only 2 pairs each. School shoes, and other. i am always concerned with school shoes as they seem to wear out before they grow out of them. I just wait for holes in the sole before I buy a new pair. Is this bad?
    Thanks for an interesting read, Kris

    • Kris,

      She must be a fashionista! I see it at the store all the time how girls buy 2 or 3 pairs of shoes, and boys are fine with just 1 pair. I wouldn’t wait for holes to show up in order to replace the shoes, maybe you should be looking at a different brand or different style of shoe. I am glad that you found the post interesting!

  3. Wow that’s a lot of shoes there. My child is coming due soon, and I was just thinking about the shoe problem. The reason is because children grow.

    Shoe rotation definitely sounds important because it lets shoes rest without putting too much strain into it. However, I heard big name brands like Nike can actually last longer.

    Maybe I should get a pair of nikes for my children every year then I can kind of reduce the hassle of changing her shoes every few months? What do you think?

    • Blame,

      Just so you know, you will be replacing shoes three times a year for your child. When they are young, they will grow a size every 3 1/2 to 4 months. Even if we leave growing room, that is just how fast they grow! Nike does not make great shoes for children, there are other brands such as New Balance, Saucony, Stride RIte that they are much better quality than Nike. Let me know anytime you have a question!

  4. I found this informative. I used to work with footwear and one of the most frustrating things I noticed was that people tend to wear their shoe for way too long. If the shoe is visibly worn and feels comfortable because the customer “broke it in years ago” then it’s too old and not providing the support. This is a great guide and Im hoping that parents can use this advice.

    • Rebeca,

      I can relate to what you are saying. When it comes to children, they will keep wearing the shoes even if there are holes through them until the parents decide it is time to replace them. The problem with children wearing the shoes for too long, is that they have a hard time getting used to the new pair of shoes, since everything tends to feel tight on them.

  5. I found this post to be really insightful.

    As a kid growing up I probably kept the same pair of shoes for a year or more. Basically the only time that I would ever get new shoes was when my feet could no longer physically fit into my old ones. But that being said, I agree with you in that they should probably be replaced more frequently than that.

    As an adult, how long would you recommend we hold on to frequently used shoes now?

    • Alec,

      Children usually need to replace shoes at least 2 to 3 times a year. As an adult, it depends if you are running or exercising in your shoes. Always look at the thread and the heel counter of the shoe, once these two start giving out, it’s time to replace your shoes!

  6. This is useful information as I have been wondering about my daughters shoes. She is 21 months and we have kind of been working on 2-3 different shoes at a time. Often hard to predict when she will need a new pair as she seems to go for a while where not much growth happens, and the out of the blue, her toes are sticking out of her sandals! But, I think we are getting new shoes about every three months or so, so was good to have the confirmation of the rough timeline of when to get new shoes. Thanks for the info!

    • Liz,

      It is normal to be replacing shoes for her between 3 1/2 to 4 months. Are you having her feet measured at a shoe store?

  7. There are three kids in our family plus two adults.Everyone tends to kick off their shoes as they come in the front door and leave them under the stairs to grab their indoor shoes/slippers. This leaves a huge pile of shoes that creeps out into the corrirod. I’ve now resorted to a big wooden bos to put shoes in – hoe storage is a problem, especially if everyone has 2 or 3 pairs of summer and 2 or 3 pairs of winter shoes. Any suggestions on how to keep them all tidy?

    • Dr. Sarah,

      I believe it happens to most parents! Children will come after a long day at school and leave their shoes anywhere. People love this shoe storage system: Amazing family shoe storage! It is a well built, easy to assemble shoe storage that will keep all of your family shoes in the same palce!

  8. Thank you for this valuable information! I have a little girl who is15 months old and I’m getting into the process of buying new shoes regularly, and not just because she outgrew them, but because she loses them.. my question is why do shoes generally cost the same with all sizes? my wife bought a pair of sandals and we bought a pair for my daughter, same price, but obviously my daughter’s is a lot smaller..

  9. This is great information, I have three kids and feel like I am buying shoes every month! What do you think of Crocs? Do they offer enough support for children? Also, I usually buy Robeez for my baby, I was told that soft soled shoes are better for developing feet, is that true?

  10. This is some great information. I have a newborn on the way so this helps me out a bunch. Do you think it’d be better to have a more open toed shoe for a baby or should I go with an actual shoe. Also, what age should our new baby start wearing shoes regularly?

    • I will recommend an open toe shoe once they are fully stable.Keep in mind that parents like close toed shoes because it offers more protection. There is not a set age for a baby to start wearing shoes. You want your baby barefoot around the house, for healthy foot development. Once your baby is older, and you decide to take him or her to the playground, that’s when you will the shoes!

  11. I’m 13 years old and shoes do not last any where near 5 1/2 months neither do my friends shoes , our shoes last around 1 1/2 months to max of 3 months if you kids feet grow slowly I went from a size 7.5 to a 10 which I am right now in about 5 months and no I am not kidding at the rate my feet grow and btw I’m 5’2 so rates of shoe size and speed of shoe size will depend of the height and sports you kid play and probs even weight

    • Hello Ethan,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. If your shoes are lasting you a maximum of 3 months then you are definitely fitting them too short. If they are lasting you three months because the shoes fall apart then you might need to invest in a better made pair. Trust me when I tell you that I have helped thousands of children and the only age range that outgrows shoes between 3 months are the toddlers.

      I know children can have growth spurs but that’s why we leave a certain amount of growing room in the shoes. Thank you for sharing your experience again!

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