Determine shoe size for children

The right shoe size is crucial for children to have healthy foot development and to prevent misalignments. The correct shoe size can be derived from the length of the foot ; it is measured from the heel to the longest toe .

Note : About 12mm are added to the foot length, which corresponds to foot growth of about 8 months. Our size calculator for children's shoes already takes this addition into account. You only have to enter the actual length of the foot in order to calculate the correct children's shoe size .

Children's shoe size calculator
Foot length in cm: cm
Results in the following shoe size:
Shoe size EU
Shoe size UK
Shoe size US

Tip : The compact guide for children 's shoes is available here - including 33 models recommended by orthopedists.

How to choose the right shoe size for children

1. Measure children's feet correctly (and find the optimal shoe size)

  • Feet swell slightly during the day due to the strain - a completely normal process. In order to correctly measure the feet to select the shoe size, it is best to measure them in the afternoon or evening.
  • The widespread method of finding out the position of the longest toe by applying pressure to the toe cap is usually unreliable , as children (especially smaller ones) usually retract their toes as a reflex!
  • A shoe template is useful for measuring : Place one foot on a piece of paper and draw around the outline of the foot with a pen and cut it out. Then use the template to determine the shoe size by matching the determined foot length (from the heel to the longest toe) with the shoe size (see shoe size calculator above or table below).
  • Whether the shoe actually fits can also be determined using the template made: it must be able to be pushed about 1.2 cm towards the tip of the shoe without buckling.
    Detailed instructions on how to correctly measure your feet or shoes can also be found on Wikipedia - “How do children's shoes fit”.

Alternatively, the foot and inner shoe length can also be measured with this children's shoe measuring device:

plus12: the foot and inner shoe measuring device
plus12: the foot and inner shoe measuring device

In a research project it was discovered that 97% of the shoe sizes for children's shoes are incorrectly stated and more than two thirds of children wear shoes that are too short. For example, shoe size 30 usually only has the inside length of a 28.
The research team looked for a solution and developed this measuring device for the feet and inner length of children's shoes (millimeter scale).

And that is how it works:

  • Measure feet (the plus12 automatically adds 12 mm to the foot length) and note the millimeter value.
  • Measure shoes (now the plus12 works like a ruler, nothing is added to the inner shoe length): The inner length must be at least as long as the value when measuring the feet. Then the children's feet have 12 mm of play.

2. How much space should there be in the children's shoe at the top?

  • The new shoes should be about 12-17 mm longer than the child's foot to create enough space for the toes. Too small and narrow children's shoes are fatal for children and often lead to massive misalignments.
  • The feet of small children grow about 1.5 mm , those of older children about 1 mm per month . Therefore a re- measurement is recommended approx. Every 8 to 12 weeks in order to avoid shoes that are too small under all circumstances.

What are the consequences of children's shoes that are too small or too large?

Children's feet are still relatively soft and therefore easier to deform . Shoes that are too small lead to a change in the direction of pulling of the tendons and thus to a displacement of the big toe (hallux valgus). Swelling or inflammation and, in the long term, osteoarthritis can result. Scientific studies on shoe sizes in connection with misalignments show that 89 percent of slippers and 69 percent of street shoes are too small . The formation of a high arch is also favored by too small children's shoes.

But shoes that are too big are also harmful to the foot. If they are too far , the foot cannot find a hold and thus slips into the empty space in the shoe that is intended to roll - the so-called "allowance". The result : the toes are compressed with every step - as if the shoe were too small. In addition, there is too much space at the heel, which means that the foot keeps slipping out of the shoe. If, on the other hand, the shoes are too long , the foot is hindered when rolling, which changes the gait and strains the joints. In the worst case, this can even stiffen the forefoot.

It is seldom inattentive parents who do not keep an eye on the growth of their children's feet. The bigger problem is the shoe size label , which unfortunately is rarely really correct.
The solution: Measure your children's feet yourself and use a template to determine the correct size. (See above: “Measuring children's feet correctly” or the size table.) A very good tool is the foot and inner shoe measuring device .

3. Table of children's shoe sizes with shoe size converter

Here is a clear table of how the foot length is converted into the respective shoe size (for DE / EU sizes, UK sizes and US sizes):

foot length in cm DE / EU shoe size
UK size
US size
8.3 15th 0 0C
9.1 16 0.5 1C
10 17th 1.5 2C
10.8 18.5 2.5 3C
11.6 19.5 3.5 4C
12.5 21st 4.5 5C
13.3 22nd 5.5 6C
14.2 23.5 6.5 7C
15th 25th 7.5 8C
15.9 26th 8.5 9C
16.7 27
17.2 27.5 10 10.5C
17.6 28 10.5 11C
18th 28.5 11 11.5C
18.4 29.5 11.5 12C
18.8 30th 12th 12.5C
19.3 31 12.5 13C
19.7 31.5 13th 13.5C

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