I have been amazed by the large number of parents who don’t know their child’s exact foot width. Most of these parents have older children who have been wearing shoes for a long time, and it’s quite shocking to me that they have been providing their children with shoes without knowing their actual foot width. Let me put it plain and simple: You can’t possibly be getting your child the correct shoe size if you don’t know your child’s exact foot width.
Children’s feet come in all sort of different shapes and sizes, and range from narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide.
Figuring out your child’s foot length can be rather simple, but figuring out your child’s foot width is another story. I know this because I have been fitting children’s shoes for the last 10 years, working for a specialized children’s shoe store. The shoe store focuses on children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well.
Knowing whether your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet is simply not enough if you want your child to end up with the correct shoe size. You must also know whether your child has a high instep or not. The instep is the top part of the foot, and when its high it can take a lot of extra space inside the shoes, and a deeper shoe is usually required to accommodate for this extra space. I know this might sound too complicated and time-consuming, but I will show you how to make the process of figuring out your child’s foot width quick and painless. Matter of fact, I will show you how to figure out your child’s foot width and instep height in less than 2 minutes.
I want you to make me a promise: Don’t keep buying shoes for your child without being 100% sure of your child’s foot width, since shoes that are too narrow or too wide might lead to foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns, as well as general foot pain. By the end of this article you will know your child’s exact foot width.
I am always explaining to parents how I can recommend them some of the best fitting shoes for their children to wear, but if they don’t provide them with the correct shoe size (length and width), their children won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.
The only way to tell what your child’s exact foot width is to have a professional shoe fitter take a look at your child’s feet and recommend shoes accordingly.
I always recommend parents to take their children to be fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet. Start by taking a look at a map that I created where I describe the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state:
If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to find a store in your area, then let me show you the most effective way on how you can figure out your child’s foot width from home.
How to Determine Foot Width in Kids – Length Alone is Not Enough!
I have fitted thousands of children from their first pair of shoes to their teenage years. I can tell whether a child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet by simply looking at their feet and the same applies to their instep height.
There is no standard foot measuring device that will determine your child’s exact foot width or measure your child’s instep height. Several shoe companies such as Stride Rite came up with their own foot width measuring method. but it is inaccurate and several families reported that they ended up with the wrong shoe size.
In order for me to tell you what your child’s exact foot width is, I need you to send me 4 different pictures of your child’s feet. These are 4 samples of how the pictures should look like:
This first picture is going to give me a general overview of your child’s foot shape.
This second picture is going to help me visualize if your child has a high instep or not.
This third picture is also going to help me determine your child’s foot width from a different angle.
This fourth picture is going to help me determine whether your child has narrow heels or not.
The email where you need to send me the pictures is: firstname.lastname@example.org and you will have a response in less than 24 hours.
You Figured Out Your Child’s Foot Width – What’s Next?
Once you know your child’s exact foot length and foot width you will be ready to start trying on new shoes for your child’s feet. Please do not hesitate to ask me if you are unsure about how a particular shoe style fits and remember that even among the same shoe brand shoes fit differently.
One of the most common mistakes that I see parents make is to assume that a shoe that is labeled as wide or extra wide will automatically fit the shape of their children’s wide feet.
Did you know that there is no standard width system used by shoe manufacturers to determine the measurements of a narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide shoe? This means that show that is labeled as wide (“W”) by the shoe company Saucony might fit narrower than a shoe labeled as wide (“W”) by the shoe company New Balance. Even among the same shoe brands shoes might fit different. Please remember this: The only way to tell how wide/narrower shoes fit is by having fitted those shoes before.
This is where I come into play since I have fitted most children’s shoes and I know how each particular shoe style fits.
I have written several different articles that describe the best shoes for children with narrow, wide, or extra wide feet, and every time I recommend a particular shoe style I describe how that shoe fits (long, short, narrow, or wide). You can take a look at some of the most popular ones below:
Once you get to try your child’s shoes on you might ask yourself the following question: How can I make sure that my kids’ shoes are fitting correctly? Let’s find out!
How to Tell If the Shoe Fits – Follow These 3 Easy Steps!
✅ First Step: Remove the original insole of your child’s new shoes. Have your child stand up straight on the insoles and check if there is enough growing room in the front of the insoles. There should be approximately 3/8 of an inch between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes. Please note that your child’s longest toe doesn’t necessarily have to be the big toe, it can be the second or even the third toe.
Take a look at the images below for clarification:
If you notice that your child’s toes are at the end of the original sole of the shoe, then you should get a shoe size that is half a size or a whole size longer. Take a look at the image below for clarification:
✅ Second Step: Check whether the width of the shoe is fitting correctly. With your child’s shoes on, check the widest part of the foot, and make sure that the small toe is not being pressed against the side of the shoes. If the shoes are too narrow for your kids’ feet, you will notice a bump right around this area of the shoe. Take a look at the image below for clarification:
✅ Third Step: Make sure that there is no extra space around the heels of the shoes. You can check this by sliding your finger around the heel, and if you feel like you can fit one or two fingers around the heel area then it means that the shoes are too wide for your child’s feet. You don’t want your child’s shoes moving up and down since this can lead to blisters, calluses, or corns. Take a look at the image below for clarification:
If you check all three steps and everything looks good, then you can have the peace of mind that your child is wearing the correct shoe size.
Are you having trouble finding a particular shoe style to accommodate the shape of your child’s feet? Does your child have a high instep and you can’t seem to find any deeper shoes? Scroll down my website and you will find an answer to any of your kids’ shoe questions.