I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years, working for a specialized children’s shoe store that focuses on children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well.
Several parents email me asking what shoe size they should get for their children depending on how old they are. In addition, I am an expert when it comes to fitting children’s shoes, and I can tell you that one of the most common mistakes I see parents make is to buy their kids’ shoes based on their age.
Children’s shoe sizes will still vary even for the same age group.
For instance, the estimated shoe size for a three-year-old is a size 9. The issue is that every child grows at a different pace, and one three-year-old might need a shoe size 9 while another might need a shoe size 10. There are also other factors that you should take into consideration such as whether your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet, or if your child has a high instep or not.
With that said, you should take the guidelines I will provide you below just as an estimate.
IMPORTANT TIP: Both girls’ and boys’ shoes follow the same size standards, the only difference is that boys’ shoes tend to run a little wider than girls’ shoes.
Kids Shoe Sizes by Age – Remember that it’s Just an Estimate!
If your child is between 6 to 9 months old the estimated shoe size is 2.5 – 3 ✅
If your child is between 9 to 12 months old the estimated shoe size is 3 – 3.5 ✅
If your child is between 12 to 15 months old the estimated shoe size is 4 – 4.5 ✅
If your child is between 15 to 18 months old the estimated shoe size is 4.5 – 5 ✅
If your child is between 18 to 21 months old the estimated shoe size is 5.5 – 6 ✅
If your child is between 21 to 24 months old the estimated shoe size is 6.5 – 7 ✅
If your child is between 2 to 2.5 years old the estimated shoe size is 7 – 7.5 ✅
If your child is between 2.5 to 3 years old the estimated shoe size is 8 – 8.5 ✅
If your child is between 3 to 3.5 years old the estimated shoe size is 8.5 – 9 ✅
If your child is between 3.5 to 4 years old the estimated shoe size is 9.5 – 10 ✅
If your child is 5 years old the estimated shoe size is 10 – 10.5 ✅
If your child is 6 years old the estimated shoe size is 11 – 11.5 ✅
If your child is 7 years old the estimated shoe size is 11.5 – 12 ✅
If your child is 8 years old the estimated shoe size is 12.5 – 13 ✅
If your child is 9 years old the estimated shoe size is 1 – 1.5 ✅
If your child is 10 years old the estimated shoe size is 1.5 – 2 ✅
If your child is 11 years old the estimated shoe size is 2.5 – 3 ✅
If your child is 12 years old the estimated shoe size is 3.5 – 4 ✅
If your child is 13 years old the estimated shoe size is 4 – 4.5 ✅
If your child is 14 years old the estimated shoe size is 5 – 5.5 ✅
If your child is 15 years old the estimated shoe size is 6 – 6.5 ✅
If your child is 16 years old the estimated shoe size is 7 – 7.5 ✅
Please keep in mind that the last kids’ shoe size is a size 7. A shoe size 7.5 is already considered a men’s or women’s shoe size.
These are just guidelines that will give you an estimate of what shoe size your child needs.
I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store, where a shoe fitter can proper measure their feet and find shoes that fit. The issue is that most children’s shoe stores have been closing down, and most parents need to purchase their kids’ shoes online. In order buy your kids’ shoes online you must know your child’s exact foot size.
If you want to find the perfect shoe size for a baby, infant, toddler, little kid or big kid you can do so by simply referring to an article along with the video I created that will show you the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home. Go to this link:
After you figure out your child’s foot size, then you are ready to start looking for shoes.
We always want to provide children with a half size longer (there should be 3/8 of an inch between the longest toe and the end of the shoes) of the size that they measure at the standard foot measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room.
Please take into consideration that once you find your child’s foot size, that is the first step when trying to find shoes for your child. For example, let’s say your child measures a foot size 7, this doesn’t mean that your child will need a shoe size 7 in all shoe styles. There are certain shoe styles that can run short, long, narrow, or wide, and depending on how they run, you will need to adjust the size that you get for your child.
The good news is that I am familiar with how most shoe styles fit, so if you are in doubt about how a particular shoe style fits, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will be able to tell you.
The Best Shoe Styles for Kids ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Children can outgrow their shoes pretty quick, anywhere between 3 1/2 to 5 months (depending on their age). This means that you need to be smart when shopping for your kids’ shoes, and find a shoe style that is durable, supportive, lightweight, flexible, and affordable at the same time.
There are certain shoe brands that focus on manufacturing supportive and comfortable shoes using skin-friendly materials, which parents will surely appreciate.
Some of the most important features that these shoe brands will provide are:
- Support: Your kids’ shoes must be supportive to minimize the impact that their feet take every time they come in contact with the ground.
- Soft and Flexible: While we want the shoes to be supportive, they need to be soft and flexible at the same time to make room for natural movement of their feet, which will help strengthen their foot muscles and develop a normal gait.
- Breathable: It’s important for the shoes to provide good ventilation in order to keep your kids’ feet cool and prevent the formation of bacteria inside the shoes. Soft leather or cloth is best as they are both soft and breathable. Avoid synthetics and plastics as they don’t breathe.
- Traction: This feature will prevent your child from slipping and falling down. Rubber soles with ridges are slip-resistant and provide good traction.
- Widths: It’s important for the shoes to be available in different widths in order to be able to ft all sort of feet. Please remember that shoes are available in different widths such as narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide.
Let me show you which are the best shoe brands and the best shoe styles for kids that I have fitted before. Refer to the following articles:
I am always emphasizing to parents that it doesn’t matter how narrow or wide their kids’ feet are, there is always at least one particular shoe style out there that will fit the shape of their feet perfectly, and I will HELP YOU find it!
Having Trouble Finding a Particular Shoe Style for your Child?
If you can’t seem to find a particular shoe style for your child, do not hesitate to contact me. I have found shoes for some of the most complicated feet out there, including children with narrow, extra wide feet, and high insteps.
I actually created a shoe filtering tool that involves shoe styles that I have fitted before, and this unique tool allows parents to search given their child’s age, child’s gender, the type of shoes they need, the child’s shoe width, as well as other important features children may require related to instep height and orthotics.
You can find a link to that shoe filtering tool here:
Children’s feet tend to grow pretty fast and the younger they are, the faster they will outgrow their shoes. It’s important to always recheck your kids’ shoes after they have been wearing them for 3 months (no matter how old your child is), since children grow in spurts.
One thing I am always telling parents is how children should never destroy their shoes before they are ready to outgrow them. If your child is wearing out his/her shoes before they are ready to be replaced, please reconsider the shoes that you are buying, since they are probably made of low quality materials.
Please remember that buying your kids’ shoes based on their age is not a good idea. There are many other factors that will affect your child’s foot size, and you should consider them all before purchasing your kids’ shoes.
Do you buy your kids’ shoes based on their age? Do you normally buy your kids’ shoes online or you have a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area? Please let us know in the comments section below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.