How Fast Do Toddler Feet Grow?

How Fast Do Toddler Feet Grow?

Choosing the right size shoes for your little one is oftentimes tricky. Not only is it challenging to measure the feet of a constantly moving baby or an active toddler, but also they grow so fast! Especially if you’re a first time or expecting parent, you might need to do a bit of homework to learn how kids’ feet develop as well as the growth rate. You might be surprised how quickly children can outgrow their shoes and might need a new pair every few months! Toddler years can be particularly more difficult because it’s the most critical stage for their foot development as they start learning so choosing the right fitting shoe is crucial. Moreover, it is also the stage when their foot growth rate is the highest. So, how fast do toddler feet grow? Let’s dive in and discover everything about these little toes!

What you'll learn:

  • How Fast Do Toddler Feet Grow?
  • Development Stages of Kids’ Feet
    • Pre-Crawler Babies
    • Crawlers & Cruisers
    • New Walkers & Toddlers
  • Children’s Foot Growth Rate by Age
  • What Affects Foot Growth Rate, Dimensions, and Shape?
  • Frequent Questions about Kids’ Feet & Shoes
    • What age do foot arches develop?
    • What age do children's feet stop growing?
    • How many sizes do children's feet grow in a year?
    • How often should I measure my child’s feet?
    • How long do toddler shoes last?

Development Stages of Kids’ Feet

Your kid’s feet evolve and change not only in size but also in shape and structure. It is important to know the developmental stages to understand how fast their feet grow and their needs for each stage. 

Pre-Crawler Babies

Infants have flat feet with mostly cartilage and soft tissue rather than hard bones. Their feet are so delicate at this stage that tight-fitting shoes and socks may impede foot growth. At this stage, your baby won’t need footwear. It is recommended to let your baby go shoeless whenever possible. 

Crawlers & Cruisers

Most babies start discovering their feet and toes around 4-7 months old. Some even start crawling although the average or more common age for crawling is generally 7 months and on. This means that your child is getting more active, using their leg and feet muscles more and hence the structure and form will be changing gradually. Especially when they start standing and cruising, their muscles strengthen more to bear weight and tension. At this stage, you might consider buying shoes for your kid for protection from the objects lying on the floor, bumping at furniture, and temperature. You can consider getting lightweight, flexible shoes with soft soles and enough room to wiggle.

New Walkers & Toddlers    

Now that your child is walking independently, its foot muscles and tendons need to get stronger while the bones continue to form, and the joints fuse. Shoe fitting, sizing, and type will be more critical at this developmental stage since toddlers would need to put on shoes more frequently. Even though it is better to let them walk barefoot when it is possible, they will wear shoes eventually when going outside, in the playgrounds, at daycare, and so on. You would want to avoid hard-soled rigid shoes and size your toddler’s feet every 4 to 6 weeks and make sure the shoes are not so tight. For example, choosing right shoes for daycare will not only make your child's feet more comfy but also will enable her play and exercise safely without tripping due to wrong shoe size.

Flexible soft sole shoes are still the best alternative at this stage to resemble barefoot walking so that they can feel and grip the surface, move and extend their toes comfortably while improving their coordination and balance. If you are not sure what soft sole shoes exactly are, check out our article about the benefits of soft soles

Children's Foot Growth Rate by Age

Each child is different and grows at their own pace. There are also other factors that could affect the growth rate such as gender and weight. However, you can find a summary of the average or expected children's foot growth rate by age to give you an idea and answer the initial question of how fast toddler’s feet grow. 



Age (Year)

Foot Growth Rate Per Month

0-3

1.5 to 2mm (18 to 24mm or  ¾ inch per year)

3-5

1mm (approx. 12mm or ½ inch per year)

5-12*

Less than 1mm (8 to 10mm or slightly less than ½ inch per year)


As you can see in the table above, toddlers’ feet could grow up to 2mm per month, meaning you would want to check their shoes regularly to make sure their feet are comfortable and not hurting. 


* At this age range, gender starts affecting the growth rate, and boys might have longer feet compared to the girls.

What Affects Foot Growth Rate, Dimensions, and Shape? 

Besides age, health issues, and genetic factors, the below aspects could also affect foot growth rate as well as shape and dimensions:

  • Gender: Influence of gender on foot growth, length, and dimensions become more visible around 5 years old and up. Some studies report an average of 2mm longer feet for boys in the 5-12 years old age group. 
  • Body Composition: Body composition or weight can also influence both the shape and size of kids’ feet. Under or overweight kids might experience different foot growth rates than normal-weight kids.

Frequent Questions about Kids’ Feet & Shoes 

Find quick answers to most common questions about children’s shoe sizing, feet growth, and more.

At What age do foot arches develop?

Most kids’ foot arches develop around the age of 6 years. Some kids might never develop arches and continue to have flat feet through their adulthood. 

At What age do children's feet stop growing?

On average, girls’ feet stop growing around 13 years old while boys’ foot growth stops at 13 to 15 years old.

How many sizes do children's feet grow in a year?

Feet growth rate changes based on age and some other factors as mentioned earlier. The exact shoe size might differ from brand to brand but in general, the difference between kids’ shoe sizes is around 6-9mm (around ¼-⅓ inch). Hence, 1-3 years old children’s feet could grow around 3 sizes a year.

How often should I measure my child’s feet?

It is recommended to measure your child’s feet every:

  • 4 to 6 weeks (1-3 years old toddlers),
  • 6 to 8 weeks (3-4 years old kids)
  • 8-10 weeks (4-6+ years old children) 

PS: measure your kid’s feet at the end of the day as it’s the time when the feet are at their largest size.

How long do toddler shoes last?

Toddler feet can grow up to 24mm or 1 inch per year. Expect your toddler to outgrow its shoes every few months. In other words, toddler shoes last approximately 2-3 months. However, every child is different and these are average numbers. Make sure to measure your child’s foot and check its shoes to see if there’s still enough room. If there’s around finger width space between the toe tip and the shoe seam, it’s almost time to change the shoes.


References: 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257928256_Foot_development_in_childhood_and_adolescence


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6832663/