How To Use The Rule of Thumb To Check Your Child’s Shoes Still Fit

Having correctly fitted school shoes is vital for helping to prevent problems occurring in children’s feet, especially as they wear them more than any other shoe in their lifetime. Yet small children adapt very quickly to what they think is normal and may not know or be able to explain that their shoes are too tight.

Many of the problems found by Podiatrists are down to ill-fitting shoes and, if left, problems with feet can have effects further up the body.  They can cause issues with posture, walking and even what some people think of as growing pains. 

Since children’s feet can grow within as little as eight weeks it’s really important to check the fit of their school shoes regularly. Whilst it may sound over-zealous to check every couple of months (and we’re not suggesting you’ll need to buy shoes that frequently) parents often leave it much longer before checking and even one term in ill-fitting shoes can cause irreparable damage.

A clever little trick we use at our Ten Feet Tall fitting studio in Singapore is the ‘Rule of Thumb’ test.  It’s a really quick and simple way to check if your child’s shoes still fit or if it’s time for a new pair.

Firstly, make sure your child is wearing their usual socks. Then push your child’s heel to the back of the shoe and do the velcro or laces up nice and firmly. Ask your child to stand up straight and tall - like a tree or a tower.  Then check the length by feeling the position of your child’s longest toe in the shoe (this is usually the big toe but might also be the second toe).

When a shoe is new there should be a mums thumb width of growing room between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe (about 12-14mm). Shoes with less than half a thumb width of space should be replaced.

Another way of checking is to take out the in-sole from the shoe. Stand your child’s foot on it with their heel at the back. If their toes bulge over sides or end of the in-sole their shoe wont fit.  There should be one thumb from the end of the toe to the edge of the insole when shoes are new.  If there is less than half a thumb width of room, its time to head to Ten Feet Tall for a new pair!

Don’t forget, when you visit us for new school shoes we’d love it if you could bring your child’s old pair back to our School Shoe Bank.  Young feet grow so quickly they’ll be good enough for someone else to wear. We’ll polish, pack and send every pair with a handwritten note to children in Asia who really need them.