Are Your Kids Wearing Shoes That Are Too Small? New Study Reveals Why 65 Percent Are in Wrong Sizes

Your child’s neon-colored Nike sneakers and sparkly Stride Rite Mary Jane shoes may look snazzy — but do they actually fit properly?

According to a new study, 65 percent of all children are wearing shoes that are too small for their feet. Of these, 47 percent are one size too small and 18 percent are two sizes too small. Only 35 percent of children wear the correct size, while only 11 percent have a growth reserve in their shoes.

The online study, conducted by BlitzResults, polled more than 2,100 parents about their kids’ foot length, shoe size and shopping habits. After the measurement instructions were issued and the values entered, their child’s optimum shoe size was calculated. The parents were then asked to measure their child’s actual inside shoe length by means of a stencil.

This bar graph illustrates BlitzResults’ findings.
CREDIT: Courtesy of BlitzResults

Not surprisingly, more than half of the parents admitted this was the first time they had ever measured their child’s foot, instead choosing to rely on visual and sensorial tests.

This comes at a time when a growing number of families are opting to shop online for their kids’ footwear and when many independent shoe retailers — known for their tradition of fit-and-sit service — are closing their doors amid crushing competition from giants such as Zappos and Amazon.

To help parents ensure they are purchasing correctly fitting shoes for their kids, BlitzResults offers three key reminders:

1. The right and left foot rarely have the same length. A difference of up to 1 inch is normal. Parents should always be guided by the longer foot when buying shoes.

2. There is no industry standard when it comes to shoe sizes, meaning there can be huge differences between brands. There are also significant variances in production. Therefore, parents should never blindly rely on sizes. Each individual pair of shoes must be tried on the child’s feet.

3. Kids need extra space in their shoes. At least a half inch of additional room is optimal, allowing children to roll properly through their feet when walking.

More background information and studies on shoe sizing can be found on blitzresults.com.

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