How often should you change your child’s shoes?

September 20, 2016
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Reflexology And Your Feet
September 12, 2016

How often should you change your child’s shoes?

How often should you change your child's shoes?

As a parent, you want the very best for your children.

You want them to grow up happy and healthy and you know that you play an important role in doing this, however, often this can leave you worrying whether or not you are doing the best for your precious little ones.

You seek advice from family and friends, read articles, blogs and magazines on what you should be doing and it can be somewhat overwhelming, even leave you feeling guilty at times…

Remember, nothing is black and white and to trust your instinct, it will always guide you in the right direction.

As part of your super parent role, it’s important to keep an eye on your little one’s feet and ensure they are wearing the right size shoes to maintain their foot health as they grow into strong, healthy individuals.

Wearing the right size shoe for their feet will prevent stunted growth, injuries, and damage as their feet grow.

There is research written as to the rate at which your child’s feet will grow according to their age and they are just that…guidelines.

Your little ones are unique and not all children hit growth spurts at the same time. Their feet may grow slower or faster than the recommended guidelines and should not cause you panic.

How fast do children’s feet grow?

How often should you change your child's shoes?Research shows feet can grow up to about the age of 18, and the most important development happens in the first seven years.

Here is a quick look at how fast children’s feet grow:

  • 0-12 months: growth occurs every 2 months
  • Age 1-3: feet can be expected to grow as much as 1.5 mm in length per month.
  • Age 3-6: feet grow an average of 1 mm per month in length.
  • Age 6-10: feet grow somewhat less than 1 mm per month in length.
  • By age 12: feet typically are 90% of their  adult size and width
  • Age 12-17: a boy’s foot will only grow an additional 10% and girls only about 2%

How often should you change your child’s shoes will depend on how quickly their feet are growing.

For a more in-depth article, read Children’s Feet: How They Grow.

How often to measure your children’s feetHow often should you change your child's shoes?

Have your child’s feet measured every 2 to 3 months until toddler years, then every 3 to 4 months after that.

If you find that your little one’s feet are growing very quickly, then measure them every 6 weeks.

Use this guide to measure your children’s feet at home.

What to look for in a shoe


The sole of the shoe should be easily flexible and not rigid. It should bend at the ball of the foot (toebreak) without any effort and not bend in the middle of the shoe.

Usually, the younger your child, the thinner and more flexible the soles should be.

Toe Freedom

When your child is standing in a new shoe, you should be able to press roughly a finger’s width, between the longest toe (1st or 2nd) and the front of the shoe. The area of the shoe just below the laces should crease when your little one takes a step.

Heel Counter

The heel counter at the back of the shoe should be firm when you squeeze both sides, and should not collapse.

Shoe Material

The upper part of the shoe should be made of breathable materials such as leather, rather than buying synthetic material shoes, and the insoles should be cushioned for comfort.

Tips when fitting on new shoes

  • Always measure your child’s feet before buying a new pair of shoes, even if you’ve bought a pair recently.
  • Try on new shoes at the end of the day when your child’s feet are most swollen, to ensure they’ll get a proper fit for all day comfort.
  • If one foot is larger than the other one, always buy for the larger one.
  • Feel around inside the shoe for irregularities in stitching, glue or stapling that could scratch, irritate and cause blisters.
  • A shoe should never need a ‘break-in’ period, if it needs breaking in, it’s too tight. Shoes should always be comfortable from the moment you put them on.

General Paediatric Podiatry Advice

Wait until your child begins walking before buying them their first pair of shoes. Your little one’s tiny feet are very delicate in the first year of growth, and going barefoot will encourage natural and strong foot development. If your baby’s feet need protection for hygiene purposes or for warmth, booties and loose-fitting socks will be adequate.

Try your best not to hand down shoes. If a shoe fits one child comfortably, it doesn’t mean it will do the same with your other children. Handing down footwear can harm your child’s walking patterns and also risk cross infection of athletes foot, verruca, and nail fungus. If the shoes have not been worn often and have not altered the flexibility and wear patterns of the shoe, then handing down is possible.

If your child is constantly kicking off one or both shoes, this may be an unspoken sign that their shoes are causing pain and discomfort. Check for signs of redness as this is usually a good indication that the shoes may be too tight or too loose.

If your child complains of foot pain or discomfort, schedule a check-up with your local podiatrist.

So how often should you change your child’s shoes…

It all depends on how quickly your little one’s feet are growing, by measuring them on a regular basis will give you peace of mind and ensure their feet grow and develop properly while wearing the right shoes for their feet. How often should you change your child's shoes?

What has your experience been when it comes to shoe shopping for your little ones? How often are you currently changing their shoes?

Leave your comments in the box below.


Founder of and Podiatrist and Chief Foot Health Inspiration Officer (CFHIO). Travel and yoga are just a few of my passions.