How to measure children's feet at home

Checking the fit for little feet

My name is Nicola, a mother to two little ones and trained Start Rite fitter for many years. I've put together what I've learnt in a quick guide to help you make sure your child's shoes fit!

We spend a lot of our time informing people how important it is to get their children shoes that fit properly in order to aid the development of their feet from baby to toddler until the day they leave their school shoes behind and start a new chapter of their life. But while the shops have to remain closed during lockdowns, we realise it can be quite difficult to keep up with measuring and fitting.

It's important to note that every type of footwear, whether it be a shoe, sandal, boot or slipper will fit differently and need slightly altered methods of checking, but this guide should give a basis to help you make a decision.

A trained fitter has the skills and expertise to recommend different styles depending on the shape of foot. If you have any questions about any of our products, please feel free to drop us a message.

How to measure children's feet at home

So I'll start with the measuring process as it's always the first thing we would do. It's important to note that the measure is purely a guide - the size you get from measuring is a starting point and you may find different styles of shoes fit differently.

If you don't already have one at home, you can purchase a measuring gauge through Start Rite, or even print one out at home! These will come with a guide of how to use them correctly, but the main things to remember are the heel must be at the back, toes flat and it's important to measure both feet as one is likely to be slightly bigger than the other. The size of the biggest foot is your guide.

Checking for length

So these next points will apply for checking both new shoes or even shoes you already have so you can see if they've grown out of them.

When it comes to checking length, the first thing we do is feel for the longest toe - this is usually either the big toe or the one next to it. You're then feeling for the gap between the end of the toe and the front of the shoe. We usually allow for around a thumbs width (around 1.5cm) of space at the front of the shoe. This allows for enough growth room so that the child's foot won't be squashed, without there being too much room so they're tripping over.


The width is just as important as length and as you'll know, brands like Start-Rite offer a range of width fittings so it's important to choose the correct one. To do this, you'll need to feel around the tops of the shoes - you should be able to fit your finger in between the shoe and the child's foot comfortably, but without too much of a gap. So if you are able to fit multiple fingers down the side, or you're able to pull the shoe away from the foot, the chances are the shoes are too wide.

You can also check by feeling the material at the front of the shoe (above the toes). If you run your finger over the top of the shoes while pushing down slightly, you should see the material move across ahead of your finger. If the material won't move at all, the shoes will be too tight, if it moves so much that you can pinch it, they are probably too wide.page1image53857472

Space at the heel

Next you'll need to check how much of a gap is at the heel. In order to do this, ask your child to sit on a chair (or on somebody's knee if they're still a toddler) so that their feet are dangling over the side. Take hold of the child's foot and pull on the shoe at the back as if you're trying to take it off. Here you are looking for a slight movement, but not enough that the shoe will come off in your hand. You can also check by asking the child to stand straight and seeing how much of a gap is between the shoe and the heel. Again, you want there to be a slight gap so they have a little movement, but not enough that they'll fall off while walking.

Catwalk time!

Once you're happy with how they look and feel on your child, it's time for the most important part - the walking test! Although this is always a great way to see how the child feels about the shoes, it's also another important way to see if the shoe fits. This is where you'll really see if the shoe fits at the heel, so make sure you keep a close eye for any slipping while they walk - you don't want them rubbing.

And there we have it, a quick and easy guide to checking the fit of your child's shoes during lockdown. Of course, we look forward to seeing you all back in the shop once we reopen so we can help you with all of this (we know how wriggly the little ones can be for measuring) and we can't wait to be a part of all those milestone moments

Until then you can browse our fab range of boys shoes and girls shoes including Start Rite, Skechers kids, Heavenly Feet kids boots and Chipmunks slippers and wellies!

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