The importance of measuring your child's feet, rather than relying on shoe sizes

As parents or guardians, ensuring the optimal growth and development of our children is one of our highest priorities, and this extends beyond nutrition and education to include their physical well-being. An often overlooked aspect of a child's physical health is the importance of proper footwear, which can significantly impact their posture, gait, and overall foot health. 

The foundation of lifelong foot health is created during childhood, making it crucial to prioritise the correct fit of shoes from a young age. Research underscores that wearing improperly fitted shoes can lead to a range of foot deformities, discomfort, and postural problems. The dynamic and rapid growth phases children undergo require frequent reassessments of their footwear needs to accommodate their developing feet.  

A common mistake is the assumption that shoe sizes are uniform across all brands and styles. However, our investigation into 7 popular UK brands, including Bibi (the brand that we promote) reveals that there is significant variation of the insole measurements for the same nominal size. For example, let's take UK size 11. Across the 7 brands we researched, the foot measure for this ranged from 17.4 cm to 18.4 cm. A staggering 1 cm (or 5.5%) variation! 

These discrepancies highlight the critical need for ongoing foot measurements and the potential pitfalls of relying solely on size numbers when purchasing children's shoes.

Practical Recommendations for Parents and Guardians

The process of measuring a child's feet should be thorough and precise. The best practice involves measuring both feet, as there can be differences in size between the left and right foot, and doing so later in the day when the feet are slightly larger due to natural swelling. The process can be a bit cumbersome for the very young, but from our experience with our two boys, once they get used to it they play along and find it fun to keep track of how fast their feet grow! To make sure your children always have the best fit, we recommend:

1. Take Regular Measurements

Measure your child's feet every 2-3 months to account for growth spurts.

2. Consult Brand-Specific Size Charts 

Before purchasing any shoes, even if you have had this brand before, refer to the specific brand's size chart and fitting guides

3. Prioritise Comfort Over Style

While aesthetics cannot be ignored, the primary focus should be on the shoe's fit and its ability to support healthy foot development

4. Be Aware of their Foot Health 

Stay informed about the signs of poorly fitted shoes, such as blisters, calluses, and complaints of discomfort from your child.


The journey to ensure the well-being of our children encompasses attention to their footwear, a critical but often neglected aspect of their overall health. The variance in shoe sizes across different brands necessitates a proactive approach to regularly measure children's feet and consult brand-specific size charts. By prioritising the fit and comfort of children's shoes, we lay the groundwork for healthy foot development, contributing to their overall quality of life and happiness.