While many parents are so focused on finding the right clothes for their children, it’s easy to overlook how quickly their feet can grow. I’ve seen on many occasions when my wife has bought some shoes for my son or daughter, only for them to be too small when they eventually put them on!
On average, children should be able to wear size 5 shoes when they around 12-18 months old. However, all toddlers are different and some will have bigger feet than others, so it’s best to get them measured properly. Toddler shoe sizes span from size 4 up to size 7. As a rule, don’t go by the shoe size, but rather the actual measurement when you buy shoes for your child. Let’s look at this in more detail.
How big are size 5 shoes?
Size 5 shoes are 4.75” (12.1cm) long. This is a uniform measurement across all retailers in the US.
What is size 5 in different countries?
Just in case you see a shiny pair of kids shoes when you’re abroad (of if you just live outside the US), here are some worldwide equivalents to size 5:
- In the UK, size 5 shoes in the US are the equivalent of size 4.
- In the EU, it’s the same as size 20.
- In Canada, it’s also size 5.
- In Japan, it’s size 12.5.
What age can babies wear size 5 shoes?
Across various websites, the recommendation seems to be that toddlers can start wearing size 5 shoes around 12-18 months. Some retailers don’t list an age range, but rather just focus on the measurements in a shoe size chart.
Is the advice the same in every retailer?
Not exactly. Although toddler shoe sizes are a little simpler to understand than toddler clothing, there are few subtle differences in the age recommendations across various retailers.
Therefore once you find a good pair which fits your toddler properly, it’s probably advisable to stick with this retailer as much as you can as your child grows and moves up through the sizes. Some stores, like Carters, have a ‘T’ after each toddler shoe size, similar to toddler clothing sizes.
- Nordstrom (US retailer) – They list sizes 4.5 -7 as suitable options for 12-24 months (a bit generic – but they do list the measurements next to each size option)
- Babychelle (US online retailer) – 12-18 months
- Kohls (US retailer) – They use the label 5T instead of just 5. The recommended age is 12 months.
Most sites in the UK show that size 4 is an equivalent to size 5 in the USA, but the recommend age doesn’t always match up as you can see here.
- JoJo Maman Bebe (UK retailer) – 9-12 months for UK size 4 (US size 5)
- ShoeZone (UK retailer) – Up to 12 months for sizes 3-4
- Startrite (UK retailer) – They don’t list ages but they state that their size 4 shoes are for toddlers who have 11.7cm – 12cm length feet, slightly less than US size 5’s.
Should you consider size 4.5?
I would advise against this. If you’ve measured your child’s feet properly then even if they can just fit in a size 4.5, you’re not going to get much use out of them and they could well be too tight and uncomfortable.
What about size 5.5?
If you’re in a store, and a size 5 pair of shoes looks a little tight on your toddler’s feet, going up half a size is a sensible idea. It’s better than having something slightly too small which will rub and cause some irritation.
I wouldn’t jump up to size 6 though as shoes which are too big can increase the chances your toddler will trip over. You can also get blisters from shoes which are too large as your toddler’s feet will move around more and rub against the material. Remember, shoes which don’t fit properly can lead a whole host of health problems when you child gets older.
Related Post: Why Do Babies Hate Wearing Shoes?
What about the width of your child’s feet?
While it’s easy to focus on the length of your toddler’s feet, you should factor in the width as well. If their feet are particularly wide, regular size 5’s might not fit so you’ll need shoes with a wide or extra wide fitting. If in doubt, try them out in your local store. In the US, you can find narrow (N), medium (M), wide (W) and extra wide (XW) fittings. In the UK, the width of your foot is measured as a letter with ‘D’ being quite narrow, moving up to ‘H’ which is very wide.
How do you measure your child’s feet?
As I mentioned earlier, as long as you know your toddler’s exact feet size, you won’t go far wrong. Make sure you measure them every month or so, so you avoid making mistakes buying shoes which are too big or too small. Here are some tips for measuring your child’s feet so you know exactly whether they need size 5 (or any size for that matter).
Buy a measuring gauge
This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to measure a toddler’s foot. You can get small measuring gauges for under 3 year olds and bigger ones for older kids. If you don’t want to buy one, you can do this in most stores, but as babies and toddlers grow so quickly, this might not seem very convenient. It might be worth biting the bullet and just purchase a measuring gauage. Here’s how to use it:
- Put a sock on their foot and place your child in their high chair or on someone else’s knee.
- Make sure the heel is against the heel rest and make sure the gauge is in line with floor with the knee and ankle at right angles.
- Ensure the heel stays in place by using one hand and with other move the slider until it touches their big toe. Take a note of the measurement.
- Measure the width of the foot next using the tape.
- Repeat steps 1-4 with the other foot. It’s quite common to have different size feet!
Use a paper measuring gauge
For a free option, you can always print off a paper measuring gauge and use that instead.
Use a ruler or tape measure
Finally, you’ve always got the option of a ruler or tape measure. It’s not quite as accurate as it’s a bit trickier to get an exact reading, but just make sure you measure from the tip of the longest toe to the back of the heel.
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Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.