When it comes to fitting your child’s new pair of school shoes, you must ensure they fit correctly to prevent any problems with their development in the future. Ill-fitting shoes can have a big impact on your kid’s bones, back and growth, which is why we have put together a simple guide on how to fit children’s school shoes to help you feel confident buying them.

  1. Does the shoe slip off? Once your child is wearing a pair of school shoes they like, firstly check that the shoes do not slip on and off the ankle. As they’re sitting down on a chair, with one hand, lift the child’s leg by the ankle and adjust the shoe with the other hand to see if they’re loose. Shoes that are too big can cause gait problems, causing the foot to roll and overcompensate to keep the shoe in place. If the shoe is slipping, try a smaller size, or add an insole.

  2. Are the shoes the right size? With your child standing up, use your fingers to check there’s enough space available on top of the shoe apron to ensure it doesn’t pinch. If it’s tight, the shoe may be too small and feel uncomfortable to wear. Check for any gaps between the shoe and the foot by running your fingers around the inside, which can indicate they are too large.

  3. Do they provide enough ankle support? Run your finger around the child’s ankle to feel if the shoe is too tight. Your finger should fit snug against the back of their ankle. A tight shoe can rub and cause unpleasant blisters. Quality school shoes made with padded ankle support can prevent this.

  4. Is there growing space? Push down on the top of the shoe with your thumb to check there’s enough growing room. Ask your child to wiggle their toes to see if they have plenty of space to extend their feet for walking and growing room. If you can feel the toes right at the top of the shoe, it’s too small so you should try a size up. If the shoe dips too much under the pressure of your thumb and you can’t feel their toes, it’s too large and will slip as the child walks. Try an insole in the existing pair and a smaller shoe, and repeat the above steps.

  5. How tight are they? Run your hands along the outer side of the shoes to feel if the child’s foot is fitting correctly in the widest part. Any bulging or pressure indicates the shoe is too tight.

  6. Are the shoes wide enough? To see if the shoe is wide enough, or too narrow, run your fingers along the top of the shoe. If the leather ripples, the style is too narrow. If it creates a ridge, the shoe is too wide. 

  7. Walk this way. Last but not least, have your child test the shoes by walking up and down a few times on carpet. This is so you can check how flexible the shoes are if your child feels comfortable walking around in them and so you can spot any slipping, bunching or pinching that a child may not mention - simply because they really like the shoe, regardless if it fits or not.

Overall, when fitting children’s shoes, if you feel you have the right pair and style, check there is 1.5 cm of space across the longest toe and the length of the shoe. These tips should account for enough room for walking, running (feel swell when they’re hot) and room to grow.

Always have your child try the shoes on with the socks and tights they will wear to school, as some tights can be thinner or thicker depending on the season. Footwear made of natural materials allows feet to breathe - good quality leather moulds to the shape of the foot which should accommodate to different types of socks. Lace strap or velcro shoes will enable you to adjust the fastening more securely to help support the feet. Also to keep shoes shining so they last, look after the shoes using a good polish or gel

If you’re unsure how to measure children’s shoes for size, take a look at our foot measurement guide. Let us know how you get on and if you have any queries about the sizing of our children’s school shoes, don’t hesitate to give us a call or email us on customerservices@panachekids.co.uk.