How long can my child's shoes last? Should I get one size bigger so it can last longer? How do I know when to get a bigger size for my child? 

Over the years, these are probably among the most popular questions we get asked at Two Little Feet. As parents, we fully understand that how other parents would like to get the best bang for their buck when it comes to shopping for their child, knowing how fast children grow. 

However, unlike buying clothes where a bigger size still fits alright, an ill-fitted shoe size may hinder your child's walking, causing blister as well as potentially leading to feet and posture problem later in their life. 

Here are some facts about your child's feet growth:

How fast do kids feet grow?

According to Ms Fiona Hu, our partner podiatrist at Physio and Sole Clinic, little feet grow very fast! Before 15 months, it will be a half shoes size every 2 months. After 15 months up until 5 years old, your child's feet will grow half a size every 3-4 months. They will continue to grow every 6-12 months after, until 14 years old for girls and 16 years old for boy.

In other words, children feet grow about 1-1.5mm every month, with some showing faster growth rate than the rest. 

How long do toddlers stay in a shoe size?

Because of the above-mentioned growth rate, the truth is your child will not be able to stay in 1 shoe size for an entire year, at least for the first 5 years of their life. If you start wearing the right shoe size from the start, meaning a 1cm space between longest toe and shoe front, it will last your child for about 4 months before it starts becoming tight at the front. 

How much space should a child have in their shoes?

Generally, an adult's thumb's width when pressing down at the front of the shoe when your child is wearing it. To ensure that this thumb's width is most accurate, you will need to ensure that your child's heel is touching the back of the shoe, the foot is relaxed and the toes are not curled up in front.

Alternatively, you can also take out the insole of the shoes (if possible) and have your child stand on top of the insole to check for space in front. Ensure that there are enough wriggling room for little toes.

For better accuracy in measurement, the recommended spacing at the front of the shoes should be between 1cm and 1.5cm from the longest toe to the front end of the toe box. With the measurements, you can refer to our size chart to get the most appropriately sized shoes for your child

How do I know if my kids shoes are too small?

It is not recommended to gauge shoe size by asking if your child is having any pain or discomfort wearing the. Children have great tolerance for pain and discomfort, especially when they are engrossed in activities, or they may not be able to express their discomfort. We suggest taking a measurement of child's feet every 2 months to check for fit, especially for the younger ones. 

When the size is too small, you can easily tell by looking at the toes. They will be too near the front of the shoe that you can see visible bumps (for covered shoe) or they go over the front of the shoe (for sandals). Another way to check is to ask your child to lift the heel while wearing the shoe. If he or she is unable to do so, it's time to size up!

Is it OK to wear a bigger shoe size?

We understand that many parents would like to get half or a full size bigger than the suggested size, just so that the shoe can last longer and some money can be saved. However, it is important to bear in mind that a bigger shoe size for kids may cause discomfort.

A big shoe may cause potential tripping (especially more so in young toddlers that are still learning to walk). They can also potentially cause blisters, or bad postures as the child has to put in more effort to grip the shoe so that it will not fall off. These may affect their ability to walk, run, jump and enjoy their play time.

It is never advisable to wear excessively big shoes.

    What size should I get for my X year old child?

    Every child has different growth rate, so we will never recommend a shoe size based on your child's age. You should always measure your child's feet and check against the size chart of the brand to determine the right shoe size for your child. You can check our guide on How to measure your child's feet for shoe sizing.


    Children's feet grow fast, so it is important to check for fit regularly. It is also equally important for your child to wear the right size of shoe every time to ensure a proper foot development. When in doubt, we are just a chat away to help you get the right size. And our Complimentary Exchange Service will make your online shopping with us a breeze!

    Reviewed by:

    Kelvin Tay Kai Ming
    BSc (Podiatry)
    First Class Hons (UK)

    Kelvin Tay, affectionately known as ‘Kai Kai’ or ‘Ah Tay’ by patients enrolled in the University of Southampton with the Ministry of Health Health Sciences Scholarship Award and graduated with First Class Honours in 2010. Kelvin’s main interest is in Sports Podiatry and his work in Singapore General Hospital, Changi General Hospital and Changi Sports Medicine Centre has given him extensive experience in foot care and wound management.

    Fluent in English, Mandarin and Hokkien, Kelvin has also been an executive committee member of Singapore’s Podiatry Association since 2013. He has won numerous awards including the SingHealth Service Quality Silver Award 2012 (SGH), the Eastern Health Alliance Caring Awards (Silver 2013-2014) and the Quarterly Best Service Award 2014 (CGH).

    He is currently a Senior Group Partner and Principal Podiatrist at Physio & Sole Clinic.