Picking out baby shoes for your child can be a challenge that you’ll be faced with many times throughout their infancy. At the incredible pace that children grow, you may end up buying 5 different shoe sizes during the first year alone. To alleviate this problem, it can help to buy sizes a little larger than expected so that the baby has a chance to grow into the new pair.

Ultimately, sizing a shoe isn’t just about what fits. Infant shoes play an important role in the overall development and health of your baby’s feet. Use these tips when buying new shoes to choose toddler footwear that fit well and offer maximum comfort and protection.

General Guidelines

As a general rule, up until the first year you can expect your child’s feet to grow about one shoe size every 3 months. After the first year their toddler shoes will increase by two sizes every year or about one size every 6 months.

Remember that these numbers are estimates and size differentials will vary depending on your child’s rate of growth. The best strategy is to first determine the size of their newborn shoes and to take regular measurements to come up with an estimate; that way you’ll know when to plan on buying their next pair.

Measuring Baby Footwear

Grab a sheet of paper, a pencil, a measuring tape, and someone who is willing to assist. You can either sit your child on a box or lifted surface, or have the other person hold them up in a standing position.

Lay the sheet of paper on the ground and gently place their foot flat on the piece of paper. Make marking using the pencil in the following locations:

  • Directly in front of the big toe
  • Behind the heel
  • On both sides of the widest part of their foot

After you have made the markings, take the piece of paper and start your measurements using the measuring tape. Stretch the tape between the big toe and heel markings, then write down the number displayed in centimeters. Next measure between the two side points from the wide parts of the foot. You most likely won’t have to worry about the width of the foot in most shoes for baby boys and girls, but it can be helpful to know incase your child requires a special fit.

Using these measurements, you should be able to match the points on the following chart:

Length (cm) US Size
10.5 1-2
11.1 3
11.8 4
12.5 5
13.1 5-6
13.8 6
14.5 7
15.1 8
15.8 9

To make buying baby boots and footwear easy, size can often be found labeled by age. This can help eliminate some guesswork if their foot length happened to be in between two sizes.

Once you’ve purchased the new soft sole baby shoes or leather baby shoes, make sure that they fit snug, but don’t squeeze the foot too tight. Placing large amounts of pressure on a child’s foot can cause damage and alter the natural development and growth of the foot; size your baby footwear with care and spend the time to do it right so you don’t have to do it again in the near future.