We’ve all been there. It’s day before the kids go back to school and they’re complaining that their shoes are too tight. Or there’s only a month left of school and you want to make those year-old shoes last that little bit longer, but you’re just not sure if you can risk it.
At Stomp, we offer a full measure and fitting service which includes checking old shoes to make sure there is still room to grow. If you are able to, feel free to pop in at any time and we can check your shoes free of charge. We will ALWAYS be honest as we understand how important it is to get as long out of a pair of shoes as possible.
However, we know that coming into the shop just for a size check isn’t always doable, so we have put together an easy guide so that you can learn how to check your child’s feet yourself! There are a number of simple ways of telling how much life a pair of shoes have left on your child’s feet and our easy tip and tricks will hopefully help you to become a master foot measurer.
How to measure:
- A thumb’s width of growing room.
The main technique that we use for fitting new shoes and measuring old ones. Use your thumb to feel where the toe is in the shoe. Place the inside edge of your thumb on the end of the big toe. In a brand-new pair of shoes, we look for a full thumb’s width of growing room, obviously this will decrease as your child grows. Usually, as long as there is no less than a quarter of a thumb’s width left between the end of the big toe and the end of the shoe then this shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, some shoes are trickier than others, some have a thick wrap-around bumper and some leathers are thicker, which can make it more difficult to feel where the end of the toe is. If this is the case, try using the same technique but feeling for the little toe instead of the big one. There should be slightly more room with the little toe, but the same rules still apply.
2. Consider the width and depth of the foot too.
Your children’s feet don’t just grow in length. Be aware that if you think their feet have grown length ways, then it is possible that they have also grown in width and depth. To measure the width, your better judgement is your best tool. Use your thumb and index finger to feel down the edges of the shoe. If the leather feels tight across the foot and it feels like the foot is bulging/pressing back against your fingers, then the shoes may be getting too tight across the width. You should be feeling for some slight ‘give’ in the shoe or what feels like a comfortable amount of space between the foot and the shoe wall. Use a similar technique for the depth of the foot. In an enclosed shoe, press against the top of the foot and feel that the material is not pressing too tight against the foot. In a Mary-Jane, T-bar style or sandal, use your finger to feel around the edges of shoe, ensuring that the material isn’t pinching the skin and their foot isn’t ‘bulging’ out of the shoe. Again, this is mainly common sense and usually your child will tell you if their shoes are too tight, whether they can talk or not.
3. Check for a removable footbed.
For someone who is not trained in shoe fitting, this tactic might be the most straight forward. However, it can only be used on a worn pair of shoes AND a pair with a removable footbed, here’s why. Some shoes are made with a removable footbed and you can use this to your advantage. First, check to see if the shoe has a removable footbed at all. Some brands have a ‘built-in’ footbed meaning they can’t be removed from the shoe. However, in shoes that do, simply slip the insole from the shoe and you can see where your child’s foot is making an impression in the material. You can also utilise the thumb’s width of growing room tactic here to see how much room your child has left. So long as their big toe is not reaching the end of that footbed, you’re safe for a little while longer at least.
As mentioned above, usually your child will be quick to tell you when a pair of shoes is too small or too tight. But if you are ever unsure or want to double check that you can push the shoes to last that little bit longer, try using the tricks above and save yourself a trip to the shoe shop unless really necessary.
Remember, these are just guidelines. If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to come in to store and we can give a professional opinion.