Typically, one-year-olds wear US-size 4 shoes. This number can be slightly higher or lower, depending on your baby’s size. My children were in US size 4 when they were 12 months old. If you look at baby shoe sizes, US Sizes 4C (child) size shoes and 4T (toddler) are the same.
If you’re wondering what size shoe a one-year-old wears, measuring their foot is best. A 12-month-old wears a size 3, 4, or 5. An 18-month-old wears a size 4, 5, or 6. Use my printable (or print-free) instructions below.
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Can I tell you a secret? Until recently, I relied 100% on my husband to buy my baby and toddler’s shoes!
I was so confused by baby shoe sizes and tired of ordering shoes that were too big or small.
Spoiler Alert: Baby shoe sizes are not as confusing as they seem!
My husband decided to break it down for me, and I’m here to pass along the information in my printable Baby and Toddler Shoe Size Finder Guide.
I also went on a fact-finding mission to create the most accurate baby shoe size chart by averaging the measurements from eight popular children’s shoe brands.
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Baby Shoe Sizing Basics
The information I’m sharing is for US baby shoes only. US shoe sizes differ from European, UK, and Australian shoe sizes.
It may seem like ten different shoe-size scales in any given store for babies and kids, but there are only two (sometimes three). Shoe sizes are the same for boys and girls.
- 0-13.5 Child or Toddler*
- 1-7 Kids
After a size 7 kids, children switch to adult shoes.
*Some stores separate child and toddler shoe sizes 0-2.5 from the rest. These shoes are found in the newborn section (not with the other shoes) and labeled with age ranges (0-3 months), (3-6 months), and (6-9 months) with separate fitting guides.
Some shoe brands label their shoes as C (for child) or T (for toddler), which are the same. You might also see kid’s sizes as Y (for youth sizes) or K (for kid sizes), which are the same.
The Most Accurate Baby’s Shoe Size Chart
It’s frustrating that baby shoe sizes are separated by less than half an inch, yet brands will be off by a quarter inch or more for the same size shoe!
To save you some headaches, I went ahead and found the shoe sizes for eight major children’s shoe brands and averaged them together to get the most accurate universal shoe size.
I included Nike, Newbalance, Crocs, Cat and Jack (a Target brand), Carters, Merrell, Stride Rite, and Converse.
|Age Range||US Shoe Size||Foot Length (CM)||Foot Length (Inches)|
|Toddler 1-3 Years||4||11.5||4.5|
|Toddler 1-3 Years||5||12.4||4.9|
|Toddler 1-3 Years||6||13.3||5.2|
|Toddler 1-3 Years||7||14.1||5.6|
|Toddler 1-3 Years||8||14.9||5.9|
|Toddler 1-3 Years||9||15.8||6.2|
|Toddler 1-3 Years||10||16.7||6.6|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||10.5||17.1||6.7|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||11||17.4||6.9|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||11.5||18||7.1|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||12||18.3||7.2|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||12.5||18.8||7.4|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||13||19.2||7.6|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||13.5||19.7||7.7|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||1||20||7.9|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||1.5||20.5||8.1|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||2||20.9||8.2|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||2.5||21.3||8.4|
|Little Kid 4-8 Years||3||21.8||8.6|
|Big Kid 8+||3.5||22.1||8.7|
|Big Kid 8+||4||22.6||8.9|
|Big Kid 8+||4.5||22.9||9.0|
|Big Kid 8+||5||23.5||9.2|
|Big Kid 8+||5.5||23.8||9.4|
How to Easily Calculate Your Toddler’s Shoe Size
I see you, mama 👀. You’re at the shoe store without your children and want to buy them new shoes. But their shoe sizes change so fast, and you can’t remember what size they are in 🤦♀️.
Here’s an easy calculation that someone once told me:
Take their age, multiply it by 2, and add 2 (for boys) and 1 (for girls).
- For example, for a one-year-old boy, double their age is two, plus two is four. The average one-year-old wears a size 4 shoe.
- Another example: a three-year-old girl, double her age is six, plus one is seven. The average three-year-old wears a size 7 or 8.
This shoe size hack only works until around age 5. It will not work once your child is in “kid-size shoes.”
Do One-Year-Olds Need Shoes?
Until your baby is walking, he or she does not need shoes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against wearing shoes and encourages newborns to be barefoot as much as possible.
Some daycares require shoes for babies who are not yet walking. Check your local daycare policies.
Once your baby takes their first steps, they should have proper fitting shoes.
What Size Shoes Do 1-Year-Olds Wear?
Size 4 is the average, but every baby’s feet will differ. A 12-month-old will have a different shoe size (usually 4) than an 18-month-old (usually 5), but they are both technically “one-year-olds.”
That’s why it’s important to measure your child’s feet (see my no printer, no ruler method below).
How to Measure 1-Year-Old Shoe Size at Home
If you have a piece of paper, pencil, and ruler (or measuring tape) at home, you can measure your child’s foot!
Finding the correct size for toddler shoes comes down to a quick measurement:
- Have your child stand with their foot on the paper.
- Mark a line at the back of the heel.
- Mark a line at the tip of their big toe.
- Measure the distance between the two lines.
- Compare that measurement with the sizing chart below.
Tips for measuring:
- Socks/No Socks: If you are measuring for sandals, no socks. Any other shoe: socks.
- Sit/Stand: They should stand when you mark their foot to get the most accurate measurement.
- Straight/Curve: It doesn’t matter if you draw a straight or curved line. Make sure you draw a curved line measuring from the apex (peak).
If you have a lot of kids, consider a shoe-measuring device like the Squatchi.
How to Measure 1-Year-Old Shoe Size at Home: No Ruler and No Printer
If you don’t have a ruler at home, you can print my guide offline, which comes with a to-scale ruler. The guide also has directions if you don’t have a printer at home.
In a nutshell, you’ll use a credit card to get the ruler’s scale correct on your computer screen. Then, cut out your child’s foot from the paper and hold it against the screen.
Tips for Ensuring a Proper Fit
Here are a few tips to find the right fit:
- Snug, Not Tight: Shoes should appear snug but not tight. They shouldn’t slide up or down when walking. They shouldn’t leave any marks or blisters after wearing.
- Room at the Toe: There should be about a pinky-finger width (about half an inch) of room at the toe. This allows for your child’s foot to grow properly.
- Room at the Heel: The heel of the shoe should have enough space for your pinky to slide in.
- Different Size Feet: It’s a good idea to measure both feet. It’s not unusual for children’s feet to be two sizes. Go with the size for the bigger foot.
- Go Bigger: When in doubt, size up. Your child’s foot grows so fast. You can wear thicker socks for a few weeks if needed.
- Free Returns: Wherever you buy your shoes, ensure they have a return policy with free shipping. Even if your child is shoe shopping with you, it’s impossible to tell whether it’s the perfect fit until after they have walked around for a few minutes. Let your child walk in the shoes indoors for 5-10 minutes before checking the fit.
How Often Do Babies Need New Shoes?
Often. Babies need to size up their shoes every 3-4 months 😱 and school-age children need to do so 2-3 times yearly.
Toddlers’ feet grow even faster, so they need new shoes every couple of months (they go up a half-size every 2-3 months).
Pro Tip: Set a reminder on your phone to measure your child’s foot every 2-3 months to ensure they wear the right size and prepare and order the next size.
Why Having the Right Size Shoe Matters
For children, like adults, the wrong size shoe can be a literal pain, from ingrown toenails to calluses, blisters, and (more severe) foot deformities.
The right shoe size ensures your child is comfortable and has proper foot development.
What to Look for (and Avoid) When Buying Shoes
Here are some things you want to look for and consider when buying your one-year-old’s shoes:
- Non-Skid Soles: Soft-soled shoes can be a tripping hazard. Look for a rubberized material with good treads for a sturdy grip.
- Breathable Material: Your child and your nose will thank me for this one. Find shoes that have mesh, cotton, or canvas for ventilation. Pro Tip: Look for a toe that is rubberized or has weather-proofing of some kind to avoid wet feet.
- Avoid Hand-Me-Downs: I am a hypocrite because my younger son wears hand-me-downs. Worn shoes will be molded to the foot of whoever wore them first. New walkers should have shoes perfectly molded to their feet to avoid unnecessary trips and falls.