I have been working at a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, and I handle approximately two hundred shoe fittings and try-ons per week. I have fitted hundreds of babies for their first pair of shoes, and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles are better than others.
I have also fitted children who have various foot issues such as flat feet, hammer toes, foot and leg pain!
I always recommend that parents have their babies’ feet measured at their local children’s shoe store, since these stores hire shoe fitters that know how to fit your babies’ shoes properly.
The issue is that most independent children’s shoe stores have been closing down, and parents don’t know where to take their babies to be properly fitted for shoes.
If you identify with this, START by taking a look at a map I created where I describe the best children’s shoe stores in the United States. These are actually fitting shoe stores, not big retail stores. You can find the map I created here:
If you still can’t seem to find a local children’s shoe store in your area then let’s keep on reading, since I will show you the most effective way to figure out your baby’s foot size from home.
It’s extremely important that you fit your baby’s first pair of shoes correctly since they will play a key role in helping your baby take his or her first steps with confidence. If you don’t fit your baby in the correct pair of shoes and the correct shoe size, you will end up creating all sort of issues to his or her feet such as blisters, calluses, or corns.
Do you want to know what is the MOST COMMON mistake parents make when trying to find the correct shoe size for their child?
Most parents believe that once they get their babies’ feet measured, that size automatically translates to the correct shoe size. This is the most common mistake parents make when buying shoes for their kids and leads them to getting the wrong shoe size.
The main reason why this is the wrong way of finding your child’s correct shoe size is because shoes can fit short, long, narrow, or wide, and depending on how they fit then you need to adjust the sizing.
We always want to provide our kids with a half a size longer of the size that they measure in the shoe measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room.
For example, let’s say that your baby’s feet measure a size 4, but the shoes you like fit “short”, this means that in order to allow for growing room instead of providing your baby with a 4 ½ shoe size, you will need to get the size 5 (since the shoes fit short). If the shoes fit “true to size”, then you need to provide your baby with a shoe size 4 ½ in order to allow for growing room.
Another important tip is that the length of the foot is not the only thing you should consider when measuring your babies’ feet. Many additional considerations must be noted in order to guarantee the feel, fit, wear, and comfort of the shoe! For instance, the width must be taken into consideration if you want to provide your child with the correct pair of shoes.
Did you know that most babies have wide or extra wide feet?
Most babies I have fitted for their first pair of shoes needed either a shoe in a wide width or a shoe in an extra wide width.
IMPORTANT TIP: The size that your babies measure at the shoe measuring scale is only a starting point when trying to find the correct pair of shoes for them!
Why I am always emphasizing to parents about the importance of providing their babies with the correct pair of shoes?
Babies are still growing, developing, and working on their coordination. The right type of shoes will protect their feet and help them take those first steps with confidence.
It seems like this generation of parents doesn’t put the same emphasis on the importance of well fitted shoes as the former ones. Why is it so important to get the correct shoe size for your baby? Because the shoes that you choose for your child CAN and WILL affect their overall foot, leg, and back health!
In this article I will explain to parents how to buy shoes for babies in case that they don’t have a local children’s shoe store in their area that they trust! I will also show you a VIDEO I created where you will be able to visualize how to measure your babies’ feet from home.
Getting the Correct Shoe Size for Your Baby! – 5 Simple Steps
If you don’t have a children’s shoe store in your area, here is a set of guidelines you can follow to make sure you are getting your baby the correct shoe size:
1- Make sure you have the proper device at home to measure your babies’ feet. I have found that the Brannock device (standard foot measuring tool) is the most effective one when it comes to measuring children’s and adult’s feet. I describe this shoe measuring tool in more detail in an article I wrote called:
2- The next step is to make sure that you measure your kids’ feet when they are fully standing. On weight-bearing, the foot stretches in both length and width, and this is the only way to get the TRUE shoe size.
3- You also need to make sure to measure both feet (most of us have a half a size difference between our feet). The longer of the two feet is the correct length to be fitted.
4- Measure to the longest toe, which is not always the “big” toe, but could be the second, or even the third toe.
5- Don’t forget to check if your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet!
Here is the video I told you I created to help parents visualize how to figure out their kids’ foot size from home:
Did you know that the volume of the foot also plays an important role when finding the correct type of shoes? The volume is the total amount of foot that is to fit inside the shoe. For example, some babies’ feet are thin and bony, while others are stocky and muscular. All these different type of feet might measure the same length and width, but will FIT and FEEL different in the same shoe because of the difference in volume they put inside the shoe!
Sounds complicated doesn’t it?
Don’t worry! I will show you the best fitting shoes for babies that I have fitted before. These shoe styles provide all the features a baby needs to START walking with confidence.
The shoe styles I will describe below come with rounded edges which will decrease stumbles and falls. This feature will also allow your babies toes to freely move inside the shoes and help them balance. These shoes will also provide important sensory information from the soles. Here you can find the DEEPEST baby shoes that come with the ROUNDEST TOE-BOXES for babies with MEDIUM, WIDE, or EXTRA WIDE FEET and a HIGH INSTEP!
All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to provide your baby with a half a size longer of the size that your baby measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
Making Sure your Babies’ Shoes Fit – Get it Right!
You might think I am exaggerating, but there are 4 steps you must follow in order to make sure your baby gets the correct shoe size!
1- Length Fit: Allow approximately 3/8th of an inch of space from the end of the longest toe (this is to allow growing room and prevent your babies’ toes from rubbing against the front of the shoes).
2- Tip of the Little Toe: Make sure the little toe is not pressed against the side of the shoes, as this can cause corns or blisters.
3- Instep Fit: The instep is the top part of the foot. Always check for any tight fit around this area, and make sure there are no marks on your babies’ feet when you remove your babies shoes. This can happen specially with fat/fleshy or stocky/muscular feet.
4- Heel Fit: Make sure the heel of the foot fits snugly without any heel slip.
If these 4 points check-out properly, your baby will have a good fit! I assure you that this is really hard to do, that is why it is important for you to take your baby to your local children’s shoe store to have their feet properly measured.
Here is a VIDEO I created where you will be able to visualize how to make sure your babies’ shoes are fitting correctly:
Now that you know how to buy shoes for babies, you are ready to keep their feet and legs healthy.
Do you have a good children’s shoe store in your area that you TRUST? Is there a specific method you use to figure out your kids’ foot size from home? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so other parents can benefit from your experiences!