The unpredictable growth of your child's feet can create a lot of guesswork when it comes to knowing what size shoes he currently needs. The shoes he is wearing now might be snug, but that won't tell you exactly how much his feet have grown.
Measuring your child's shoe size at home allows you to stay up-to-date with her current size at any time, and frees you from the need to always have your daughter along when you shop for shoes. Frequent at-home measuring will take the guesswork out of what size to buy when you find unexpected bargains, and allows you to take better advantage of the convenience, selection and competitive pricing offered by online shoe retailers.
Purchase a foot-measuring device. These have the advantage of being very similar to the traditional measuring guides used in shoe stores, with pre-marked sizes and widths. Foot-measuring devices are made of wood, metal or plastic, and won't tear with repeated use. Most children's models include size ranges for infants, toddlers and older children all on a single device so they can be used for years and for multiple children in the family. Prices range from about £4 to £45 and they are available from various online retailers including ritzstick.com and brannock.com.
Print a children's shoe size measurement guide from an online shoe retailer (such as zappos.com, paylessshoesource.com, or StrideRite.com) and use it at home. These printable shoe measurement guides are available from almost any online shoe source which offers children's sizes; look for them with the sizing guidelines. Look for directions that have you compare the printed chart to a ruler to be sure it is scaled correctly. If that feature is not offered, you may not be getting an accurate measurement.
Paper guides will not last as long as those which are made of hard materials like plastic or wood and you may need to print or copy them frequently so that marks, wrinkles or tears don't interfere with proper measurement. The paper guides are free to print, and easy to take with you on a shopping trip.
Use an online conversion method to find your child's shoe size at home. Directions vary, but generally you measure each foot on a separate sheet of paper by tracing it, then use a calculation table to compare inches to corresponding shoe size. Measurement directions usually have you subtract some fraction of an inch to allow for the slight gap of space created by tracing.
Some conversion methods may eliminate the tracing step by having you place your child's foot on the ruler itself and stand (or apply pressure if your child is unable to stand due to health or age) to find the length of his foot in inches, which is then compared to the shoe size chart.
Be aware of return and exchange policies for shoes from brick and mortar stores as well as from online sources before you make a purchase. If you use an online tool from a particular retailer, determine if the measurements are generic or geared toward a certain style or brand of shoes. Paper measuring guides can be made more stable by taping them to the floor or to a piece of cardboard. Measure both feet and use the larger measurement if there is a difference. Measure at home frequently and carry the information with you so you always know your child's current shoe size.