Maybe you are a parent thinking of buying your kids a nice pair of shoes but worried about how long they’ll last? Or you’ve just bought a nice pair of shoes but you’re worried they’ll be too tight soon…
Kids grow at an incredible pace. Every child is different, but the general rule is that younger children’s feet grow at a faster pace than older children’s.
Plenty of parents worry about their children being in the right size shoes. When does this all end? Should they buy new shoes now or wait a while and let them grow more?
The truth is that there is no need to worry. As long as your child’s feet still fit into their current pair of shoes with a little room to grow, then they will most likely be fine for a while (of course always depending on the shoe’s construction and materials).
So, what causes this fast growth of the kid’s feet?
Well, kids are growing fast and their feet have to grow too! Once puberty hits other changes start to take over and foot growth is slower, but still ongoing.
When do children’s feet grow rapidly?
The fastest foot growth happens up to the age of 3. At its fastest pace, feet can grow almost 2cm a year.
Between 3 and 6 growth is still fast but closer to 12mm a year.
And from 6 to 10 it’s usually similar, but slightly less than 12mm per year.
Once puberty hits foot growth does taper off with most boys’ feet only growing an additional 10% and many girls’ feet only growing by 2%.
Growth of feet in boys:
Most boys’ feet grow rapidly for the first 8 years and then slow down during the period between ages 9 and 12. Sometimes this growth period can last until they are 13, 14, or even 15.
Growth of feet in girls:
Girls tend to follow the same pattern as boys until puberty. In younger children there is no difference between the rate of growth between boys and girls but girls tend to start puberty younger than boys, so their foot growth slows down earlier. Some girls’ feet might continue to grow slightly after that, but less than boys.
Growth of feet in children with disabilities:
Children with disabilities often grow at a slower rate, and their feet may stop growing later than the ones without any disabilities. However, the average age is still around 15 years old.
At what age do kids’ feet stop growing?
It mostly depends on the child and his/her genes. However, on average children’s feet stop growing around the age of 15. In boys this can go on until the early 20s.
The average size of kids’ feet:
At age 3 the average foot length is 160mm. This is UK size 9.
At age 5 the average foot length is 185mm. This is UK size 12.
At age 8 the average foot length is 210mm. This is UK size 2.
At age 10 the average foot length is 225mm. This is UK size 4.
At age 12 the average foot length is 245mm. This is UK size 5.5.
What does this mean for parents?
It means that you should buy shoes according to your child’s current shoe size, with a little room to grow. Don’t buy shoes that are too large as they can be just as bad for kids’ feet as shoes that are too small. Once their feet stop growing it will be easy to make sure they always have shoes that fit them perfectly.
Please note that this is just a general guide. Always check if your kid’s feet are healthy and developing normally before making any assumptions about their growth and buying shoes. Your local shoe shop will be able to measure your child’s feet accurately and advise you on the best size.
If you have any concerns about your child’s foot development, speak to a health professional as soon as possible. If a problem is treated early, it will be much easier to fix it than if you wait until later.