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 In Ask an Expert, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Pulse Blog

Q: Sometimes I can’t keep up on my child’s changing shoe size. What’s the worst that can happen if my child’s shoes are too small or too big?

Shoes that are too small are unlikely to do any long-term damage. Children’s feet are going to develop how they are going to develop. That said, shoes that are too tight can be uncomfortable and can rub. It’s always good to buy new shoes every 6 to 12 months as kids’ feet grow rapidly.

Shoes that are too big can be a tripping hazard, so while it can be tempting to buy up to make shoes last longer, it’s better to choose the size that fits now. When purchasing footwear, aim for a thumb’s width of room between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. In terms of width, check to make sure the shoe isn’t too snug over the top of the foot, and that the little toe has room to flex.

Ill-fitting footie pajamas can often pose a bigger problem than ill-fitting shoes. When footies are too small, they can cause ingrown toenails. If a child is on the cusp of outgrowing a pair of footie pajamas, you can cut off the foot portion of the PJs to give little toes more wiggle room.

Dr. Daren Benson, Podiatrist, Foot & Ankle Surgeon at Vancouver Clinic

Daren Benson, DPM, FACFAS.