School Shoes for Kids - How to choose the right size

Choosing a shoe size? How do you make sure you get it right in the era of self serve? How do you make sure the delightful 15 year old helping you at the shoe shop is getting it right?

Podiatrist Dr. Brenden Brown from Sydney-based clinic A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care shows you how to quickly and simply make sure you have the right fit for your child's feet!

School Shoes for Children

Our children spend 30 hours a week in school shoes, that's in excess of 15 000 hours in a school child's lifetime. Choosing the right shoe for your child is extremely important.

Poorly fitting children's shoes can be problematic and may lead to problems in adulthood such as hammer toes, ingrown toenails, corns on the feet, callus and possibly bunions. Poorly fitting shoe or unsupportive shoes may exacerbate foot problems.

These problems can be painful and may require treatment ranging from simple consultations with a podiatrist to surgery. It therefore makes sense to, where possible, ensure children’s shoes fit properly.


Generally, most podiatrists when fitting footwear to children for school would recommend you look for the following features.

  • There should be a child’s thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe
  • The sole of the shoe should be fairly straight as the foot is straight
  • The fastening mechanism should hold the heel firmly in the back of the shoe
  • The back part of the shoe should be strong and stable. This area is often referred to as the heel counter
  • The shoe should flex across the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the shoe
  • The sole should not twist. They shouldn’t “wring out”
  • Lace up, Velcro or a buckle is best. Slip on shoes are not generally considered the best thing for long term use
  • Yes mum you are right! It is better for your feet if you do up your laces!
  • A Heel height greater than 1.5 cm should be avoided for long term use
I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.<span class="su-quote-cite">Oprah Winfrey</span>

How often do you need to buy new school shoes?

A school shoe should generally last nine months to a year. However you should realise that if you notice your child has a growth spurt it is wise to check to see if their foot has also grown, as the two will go hand in hand. After the age of three it is generally thought a child’s foot will grow about half a size every 6 months.

Large amounts of “wearing” noticed on the shoe, or shoes, that cause pain should be replaced.

You should not place a child in “hand-me-down” shoes.

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