Measuring children’s feet

Measuring children’s feet

Measuring children’s feet before buying shoes – why is it so important? For many shoes, the actual size deviates from the size indicated on the shoebox. Adults usually notice whether a shoe fits and is comfortable. Particularly large deviations are noticed immediately. Small children in particular do not notice whether shoes really fit. Because children’s feet are still soft and easily mouldable, they adapt to the shoe. Pain perception, for example when hunching the toes, is still undeveloped in small children. That is why children’s feet should be measured in order to find the correct shoe size and right shoes. WMS foot measuring devices are used in good specialist shoe shops to measure children’s feet. Children’s shoe specialists measure your child’s feet and will advise you accordingly.

Comparing children's feet and shoe sizes

It is not just feet that can be measured in shoe shops. It is also possible and advisable to measure the shoes. The actual inner length of children’s shoes can be measured and checked with a special WMS inside length device. This is how you will know if the size is correct. Furthermore, an exact length determination is also possible for shoes that have not been made in accordance with the WMS system. If the actual inside length of the shoe has been determined, you can compare this with your child’s measured shoe size. You have therefore not just measured their feet, but also their shoes and will know for certain if a shoe fits your child’s foot length or whether another size would be the better choice.

Shoe width also plays a crucial role in addition to the shoe length. This can vary depending on manufacturer or model. Good children’s shoes must provide the necessary support and must not slip away from the foot when running, climbing or romping around. Children’s shoes should, however, not be so tight that they constrict the foot or impair growth. The WMS foot measuring device gives the first indication about width. It is only by trying on and checking the exact fit that we can guarantee that the selected shoe really fits an individual foot.

Regularly measuring children’s feet

Children grow very quickly and the feet are no exception. Children’s feet should be measured every three to four months to make sure that their shoes have not become too small. If your child has shot up, you can be sure that their feet have also grown and that their current shoes have become too small. Buying shoes in advance is not advisable because no one can predict how quickly feet actually grow during development. There is a mobile measuring device from the company Clevermessthat can be used between measurements in shoes shops. With Cleverness, you can measure the length and width of your child’s feet and then check whether the measured values correspond to the shoe’s dimensions. You will therefore know whether there is still enough space in the shoe for the feet to unwind and grow or if the shoes are too small. If you measure your child’s feet yourself, it is important are standing while you do it. This is because the feet are longer and wider when standing than when sitting. Furthermore, feet need even more room to move when moving. There are different methods to see if a shoe fits the length of the foot without a measuring device. Which methods are recommended and which are not? Find out in our summary below:


  • Feeling the feet: When children have walked a few metres in the new shoes, the fit of the foot in the shoe can be checked by touch. Use both hands to feel from back to front while the child is standing on two feet. This is a check to see whether the shoe is a good fit in terms of width. If the shoe’s front flap is made of a soft material, you can also check the length. For this it is best to rest one hand on the forefoot so that the child cannot retract the toes, while feeling the position of the toes with the other hand.
  • Put the foot on the inner sole (sock lining): This method only works on shoes with a removable inner sole and is only for checking the length.
    For this method you must take into account that the foot is a three-dimensional object and is being placed on a two-dimensional sole. For the test, that means that you have to move the foot on the sole so far back that the contact area of the heel reaches the end of the sole. The heel bone will then slightly protrude a few millimetres. Please make sure that the end of the sole lies a few millimetres further forward than the heel bone in the shoe.
    Now you can check the sole at the front to see if there is a 9–15 mm space in front of the toes, depending on the size. Make sure your child does not curl his or her toes! You should also check whether the inner sole fills the shoe properly and reflects the actual inner length.


Not recommended:

  • Thumb check: A simple thumb press on the tip of the shoe is unsuitable for checking a shoe’s fit in terms of length because children usually reflexively claw their toes and often making it seem that many shoes fit.
  • Holding the foot to the outer sole: You hold the shoe with the outer sole to the child’s foot to check whether the toes are longer than the sole. This method is not recommended. This is because the inner length of the shoe is not identical with the length of the outer sole. A shoe that seems long enough from the outside may actually be too small on the inside. This is especially the case for winter shoes with a lining.
  • Making a template: Putting children’s feet on a piece of paper and copying and cutting out the outline of the foot. This can lead to too many inaccuracies by holding the pen incorrectly or due to individual toe and heel shapes.
  • Asking the child: Of course you should actively involve your child when buying shoes. From a visual perspective alone, the child must like the shoes so that he or she will be happy to wear them. It is not sufficient to ask the child whether the shoe is long enough to find the right size when buying shoes. Small children in particular do not yet have a sense of whether a shoe is too narrow or small, which is why measuring the feet is recommended when shopping.
  • Heel check: Check whether a finger fits between heel and shoe. If there is a finger-width gap in the shoe, this does not mean that the shoe is actually the right size. Because the child will instinctively slide the foot to the front of the shoe and clench their toes, making a clear measurement of the size impossible.