Fitting Children's Shoes

Mar 12, 2020

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Children’s feet are always growing and developing.  Their feet should be measured and properly fitted several times a year. Here are some tips on choosing and fitting children’s shoes:  

  • The shoes should hug the heel / rear foot so that there is no rubbing or slipping.  After lacing up the shoe, hold the shoe on the ground and make sure the child can’t easily slip his/her heel out.

  • The toe box should be wide enough to accommodate a growing and expanding forefoot.  Check the fit at the ball of the foot. Make sure there is a bit of space at the edges but not so much the foot will slide around.  When walking, the top of the shoe shouldn’t buckle over the top of the foot. If it does, the shoe has too much volume for your child’s foot type.

  • The length of the shoe should be a thumb’s width longer than the length of the longest toe (sometimes not the first or big toe).   If shoes are purchased with “growing room” the natural flex points of the shoes and the feet will not match and may cause pain.  A shoe that is too long can also cause a child to trip more easily.

  • Shoes need to be tied or closed to support the foot properly.  If your child can’t lace their shoes, stick with a velcro closure or try an elastic lace they can easily pull to tighten.

  • Unsupportive and, often, fashion shoes do not offer enough support for running and activity.  Choose a supportive, lace up athletic shoe that fits well and allows natural foot motion.


Your child should not have foot or knee pain.  Sometimes a change in footwear is all that is needed to resolve the problem.  If your child complains of pain, talk to your doctor. If there is no underlying health problem, a referral to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist is recommended.  They can assess your child’s gait and can make recommendations on footwear and whether custom orthotics may help.