I have had lots of parents and grandparents ask me “What is the best way to get my child’s shoe size”? I must admit that question sort of stumped me at first. The usual “Brannick” shoe measuring device won’t work all that well on kids, as it is geared for adults. Most parents prefer to buy the shoes and just bring them home to have the child try them on there and not in the actual store (That can be quite traumatic not only for the child, but for the parents as well!).

After a bit of research, I have found that there are many ways to actually measure a kid’s foot. I know that may sound strange, but it is in fact the truth. I encountered a myriad of charts, and equations that only made me wonder “What were these people thinking” It really shouldn’t be that hard.

Secret Tip to Measuring Children's Feet

Here is what you do... Take a piece of standard copy paper and draw a straight line down the center of it.  (For those of us who are artistically impaired as am I, I suggest you use a ruler.)

Place the paper with the line perpendicular to the wall. Now have your child place his/her heel against the wall and simply place a ruler at the end of his LONGEST toe and draw a line perpendicular to the first line. Measure the distance from the edge of the paper (that was against the wall) to the line drawn at the end of the longest toe, and VOILA, this is your child’s foot size. You can use either centimeters or inches (I suggest both in this day of being a “world market”).

Always measure both feet and the foot that is the longest is the one to be used for the proper fit. Allow about an additional 5 mm for growth, and things should be fine. Kid’s feet grow fast so I usually don’t suggest you buy the most expensive shoes. When they are beginning to walk they are mostly for protection and to get the little one used to the feeling of having shoes on in the first place. (Usually they will do their darndest to take them off…It is just an un-natural feeling for kids to have their feet stuffed into shoes).

Getting Measured by a Professional

Proper fitting not only involves the length of the shoe, but the width and also the thickness of the arch as well. Don’t forget that the foot is a 3 dimensional object and to think that you can get a “proper fit” in only one direction is a mistake most adults make even for themselves. Check the child’s feet after a ½ hour or so after being in a new pair of shoes to make sure there are no red spots of irritation and the onset of blisters. Painful shoes are no treat for adults, let alone our little people beginning on their walking expeditions around their new environment.

With a little knowledge and experience, new parents will quickly become expert at the ability to properly “size up” their children’s feet.

Robert Kosofsky, D.P.M.
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Dr. Robert Kosofsky has over 25 years of experience treating patients in our Hillsborough & Piscataway offices
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