Measure your children’s feet essential for correct fitting shoes

Buying shoes can be a real conundrum, especially if you are a parent buying shoes for a growing child.

Adults whose feet have reached their maximum size don’t have the same difficulties buying shoes for themselves; at least they know what size to look for.  However, a child’s feet change sizes on a steady (but not regular) basis, and choosing the right size at any given stage of development is really quite crucial.

Especially for toddlers who are just learning to walk, the correct shoe size is an absolute must, since shoes that are either too small or to large may very easily affect the child’s posture and the way the rest of his or her body grows.  Aside from creating difficulties in walking as they’re starting out, poorly fitting shoes during childhood can cause a lot of problems later in life, so you have to get it right.

The best option is to consult and get measurements from someone with experience in children’s shoes – if you’re lucky the shoe salesperson can be of invaluable assistance.  However, here are a few suggestions for doing ‘homework’ before you go shopping, so you’ll have a pretty good idea in advance.  Hopefully you’ll also save yourself and your child some grief.

Measure the child’s feet – both of them – by using a sheet of sturdy blank paper.  Draw a straight line on the paper and have the child stand flat on it, no curled toes etc.  Mark the paper at the end of the big toe and at the heel on each foot, since there is often a difference in size between the two.  When you take this measurement, have them wear their thickest socks, or the ones they’ll be wearing for the next few months (thickness-wise).

It’s a good idea to measure in both inches and centimetres, for U.S. and European sizes.  Any UK store can give you both measurements, but just so you’ll be aware, UK sizes are about ½ less for boys and  1½ less for girls.  Now, when you are ready to have the child try on shoes, remember to look for the longer size if the child’s feet were different in length.

During the trying-on process, the old trick of pressing your thumb on the toe of the shoe still works as well as anything.  If the big toe is pressing against the tip of the shoe, you need to think longer.  If there seems to be extra space between the child’s toe and the shoe’s toe, try a bit shorter.  Have the child walk around, both to test for comfort and to make sure the heel isn’t slipping off – if that’s the case you’ve gone too long.

Now you just have to remember that your child’s feet are growing; the rule of thumb is to add a half size but no more.  That way there’s a bit of grow room, but not too much, since you don’t want the shoes falling off before the child grows into them.  The idea is for both you and your children to feel comfortable with the shoes you buy – each time – until they are old enough to buy their own.