Kids Shoes - up a 1/2 Size or Full Size?

Updated on September 06, 2012
B.B. asks from Bedminster, NJ
16 answers

The past 2 times I have bought my preschooler shoes, it was up a whole size. I felt kinda bad because they did seem really big for a couple months. Do you guys buy a whole size larger or only a 1/2 when your kids need new shoes. In particular, I am asking about younger kids. Also, how often do you get them new shoes? My son usually has 2 shoes of a particular size at a time.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

Hi!! I always bought the size that fit them. I wouldn't buy myself shoes too big-- it's not comfortable and it's not good for my feet. Why would I do that to my baby's foot?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I always buy the size they are at. Yes, they may outgrow them soon, yes, it is expensive... but really, I would not want to have to walk around in ill-fitting shoes all day (and we do a lot of walking and outside play) and I would not ask my child to.

DD is almost 5 now, I buy a new pair of shoes and boots every fall/winter and then sandals for the summer. She can usually still wear her shoes through the summer (she is this year and was last year as well). I only buy high quality shoes for daily wear, but occasionally I will get her a pair of cheap glittery shoes for dressup and fake crocs for waterplay.

More Answers


answers from San Diego on

I buy the size that they are at the moment. I do not buy up a size and make them wear them. I do pick up shoes on clearance in a size or 2 up so I have something as soon as I need it and just set them aside until they need them.
I have one of those things to measure their feet at home. I'm pretty sure I got it from One Step Ahead but I can't find it on their website right now. I also get their feet measured when we go to buy shoes and I make everyone try them on before we leave because some styles will fit different than others so I want to make sure they are good from the get go.
I read a report that it isn't actually good for a child to buy bigger shoes, that you should buy their correct size. I follow that advice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

In the spring.. I buy sandals.. I buy big.. it has to last from May- sept.. and maybe november if we go on vacation.. so I buy a size big..

I often buy ahead.. for example..this spring my son was wearing 12... I saw a good sale on tennis shoes. I bought 13 1/2 ..I figured he wouldstart wearing them in october and they might be a bit big but not gigantic.. so far it is working..

my kids usually grow 2 shoe sizes a year. so if they wear size 11 sandals this year.. next year I can bet they will wear size 13..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I take them in to get measured. There's a Payless in our mall, so I just run in and get them measured. I often get the shoes later for the 3 1/2 year old. The 6 year old has opinions, so he actually tries them on.

The staff is always understanding about the fact that I measure at one visit and buy at another. I think they would prefer that over my 3 1/2 year old running around the store or knocking down boxes of shoes :-)


answers from Dallas on

I always go with the next size up but just because she's actually in that next size. We just went from a 10 in sandals to an 11 in tennis shoes. I buy a few pair per seasons. I have a girl though, so we need tennies, sandals, flip flops, dress shoes...



answers from Topeka on

half a size bigger unless it's not a thumbs lenght then a full size typically



answers from Washington DC on

My son is 6 and for his every day shoes, I always buy between his true size and 1/2 size up (like if he's actually a 2 I get 2.5, but if he's between 2 and 1.5 I STILL get 2.5). I did the same when he was in preschool.

The only exception is that every spring we get a pair of KEEN sandals for the summer. They come in whole sizes only, so those are sometimes 3/4 of a size bigger at the time we buy them. We wears them with socks all spring (and beginning of summer usually), and then by mid- summer they fit just fine without the socks.

I don't like his shoes too big because it just isn't good for walking or playing. Imagine yourSELF in a pair of shoes a full size too big for you!

That being said, we get just ONE new pair of (good) shoes at a time, plus dress shoes or cleats as the season demands.



answers from Albuquerque on

My girl will be 4 soon and wow! she outgrows her shoes quick! I do NOT buy name brand shoes, because I know in about 6-8 months she'll outgrow them anyways. My shopping goes something like this: twice a year we buy her 2 pairs of shoes. In the spring, it's tennis shoes and sandals (to last through summer). In the fall, it's tennis shoes and boots (to last through winter). I try to stick to shoes that are <$20/pair. Of course, in the summer we do buy flip flops, and we may buy an extra pair of something if I find something I like, or on sale, or in the next size... When I buy shoes, I buy them in the next 1/2 size up. She is also very rough on her shoes, so I figure I'll be buying the next season shoes around the time the current ones are all messed up anyways, no sense in getting them a full size bigger. Most of her shoes have gone straight to the trash, but there have been several pair that have survived well enough to be passed on to another kid.


answers from New Orleans on

It depends.....My two daughters are 6 and 5.
6-8 months before their birthdays they were in a size 10 (5 year old)
and a size 11 (6 year old) Right about the time there birthdays came up there shoes(dress shoes) were tight. I brought the shoes at that time to "fit". They only able to wear them about that time and their feet grew.

So when school started. The 6 year old was in a about a 12 or 12 1/2 so we went up to size 13. Her sister was in a 11 or 11 1/2 so went to a 12.(i think.) so i guess you can say we went up almost a size. We paid good money for their shoes and wanted them to last without them growing out of them. They fit a tad big,but not falling or tripping over their feets.


answers from Milwaukee on

I buy a 1/2 of a size up for shoes, exact size for sandals and a whole size up for snow boots.
I like them to have a little room to grow in shoes, sandals have more freedom for growth and look and feel terrible if they are too big, snow boots should last our whole LONG winter and sometimes we pile on the thick socks. Plus, I buy them a couple of months before we need them otherwise all the good sizes and deals are gone. For example all kids have their snow boots for this winter and it's prob. not even going to snow for a few more months. I would hate for them to grow out of them before they even need them if they had a growth spurt. Especially because I buy Kamiks and Sorels that are pretty expensive and I don't want to spend that kind of money twice in one year.



answers from Oklahoma City on

At first thicker socks then as they grow thinner socks. I always get them a little big.


answers from Alexandria on

My son is 4 and I only do a half size.

Reason 1: They are a little big for a while and at that age, they really aren't paying attention to where their feet are and they are clumsy.

Reason 2: I pay for good shoes like nike, puma, etc... I have learned from experience that the ones from target or walmart tear up faster (could be my child is rough, too). I have also learned that the name brands retain their shape longer, they do not stretch out as fast. So a half size is plenty for the normal life of a shoe, especially at this age.

Reason 3: Vanity... it's horrible, I know. But I don't want someone looking at my son's feet and seeing a "clown" shoe bc it's so big.

I don't like the idea of thicker socks, especially during the summer. That will make their little feet hotter. I'm not going to do that to my child just to say a couple bucks.

I probably get my son new play wear shoes every 3 months. He normally has 2 pairs of play shoes, ones he can wear outside to play in the dirt or mud :) Then he has nicer shoes that he wears out in public, like if we are going to town to eat or shop. I probably replace those (2 pairs) about every 5 months or as he grows out of them. Then he has the odd season type shoes, ie... flip flops, boots, whatever I thought was cute that trip :) During the summer, on top of all his other shoes, he normally has 4 sets of flip flops. During the winter, 2 pairs of boots (brown & black). I only buy the summer and winter shoes once a year at the start of that season. There are enough flip flops to not have to buy anymore and I only replace the boots if they are horribly scuffed.



answers from San Francisco on

I typically do 1/2 size up. So I have kids that are just about to outgrow size 9 and 9.5 shoes and their next pairs that I have waiting for them will be 10 and 10.5.

I tend to buy each a pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals for the half year around summer time. For the half year surrounding winter, I usually get two pairs each. One of sneakers and one of a brown/black casual shoe that is not really a dress shoe but can also be worn for the holidays.

I also get a pair of rain boots, but that is usually a size bigger unless it absolutely looks huge. Rain boots seem to be a different beast with different brands running big or small and not all brands come in half-sizes. So the one growing into the 10 may just get a size 10 boot while the other might get a size 11 boot.

I don't do hand-me-down shoes to the one wearing the smaller size. Their foot shapes are not the same so having him wear a shoe worn in by his brother wouldn't work well. Plus it's hard to explain to toddler twins why one would keep getting new shoes while the other gets used.

I am fortunate though that might kids have had rather steady growth. I haven't had an issue where suddenly they outgrow their clothes or shoes.



answers from New York on

Since I have a thing about properly fitting shoes (I had terrible feet as a child) I always took my kids to our local children's shoe store. The man ther always fitted them well with enough room to grow. So I would go to a good shoe store to have him fitted.



answers from New York on

I always buy shoes that fit properly. I have the kid slide their foot all the way back then I check to see how far their toes are from the end of the shoe using my finger as a guage. I like them to have at least 1 fingers width space between their big toe and the end of the shoe. I also let them go for a walk in the shoes. If the shoes feel funny in the store they stay in the store. If their heel comes up out of the shoe I try a half size smaller.

Boots are purchased at least 1 size bigger because we do layers of socks because we walk a lot and longer than just to the car and the door.

Generally speaking when the kids were growing every season they had to get new shoes. So every summer, winter spring and fall. New shoes were in order especially when there was a growth spurt. Sometimes I could get away with fall/winter shoes and spring/summer shoes but that was kind of rare because someone's feet was always growing faster than I could keep up. When your raising 6 growing kids at one time it is to be expected.

I hope this helps.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions