Does a Child's Shoe Size Indicate Height?

By Nadia Haris
Your child's feet grow at a rapid rate from the age of 6 to 12.
Your child's feet grow at a rapid rate from the age of 6 to 12.

The pitter-patter of little feet soon turns to bounding leaps around the house as your child sprouts like a beanstalk. You may be shopping for larger shoes and clothing for your child at the same time, but his shoe size is not an indicator of how tall he has grown or will grow. Both shoe size and height are genetically determined, so the best place to look is at your own feet and height as his biological parent.

Growth Rate

Children have a great deal of growing to do; your child might seem to outgrow his shoes before you have time to buy the next larger size. Along with his body your child's feet are rapidly developing and growing. According to Proarch Podiatry, your child's feet will grow at their fast rate between the ages of 6 to 12 years. His foot length will increase by an average of 1 centi-meter a year during this time. From the age of 12 to 17, the growth of children's feet slows considerably while their bodies continue growing. Boys feet will only grow about an additional 10 percent, while girls can only expect about a 2 percent increase in length.

Foot Development

Although feet do not grow at the same rate throughout childhood, it will take approximately 18 years for your child's feet to fully develop. Even the number of bones in a child's foot changes along the way. At birth, the foot is made up of of 22 partially developed bones. By the time your child is school-age, the number will have grown to 45, with spaces between the bones. The bones will fuse together over the next decade or more so that at adult maturity, the foot will have 26 bones.

Shoe Size

Your child's genes determine how large his feet will be once they are fully developed. Your child's shoe size is not an accurate indicator of his height, just as shoe size is not an indicator of an adult's height. Shoe size is generally proportional to body size, but can vary widely. The medical site HealthTap notes that the average shoe size for women in the U.S. is 8, while the average height for women is 5 feet 4 inches. However, many individuals with larger feet may have shorter statures, while taller women may also have size 8 feet.

Height Factors

Height is based on genetic factors, and parents pass those factor to their children. Even if you are considered short, you may carry genes that inscribe a tall stature and pass this on to your child. In addition to nature, nurture is also important for your child's healthy growth and development. Dr. Robert H. Shmerling notes at InteliHealth that a healthy, balanced diet is important for your child to grow to his maximum height. In severe cases, malnourishment or childhood illness can affect your child's health, growth and development. In some cases, infants that are born premature never completely catch up and may be shorter than their expected height. Diseases such as Type 1 diabetes and cystic fibrosis and medications such as the anti-inflammatory medication corticosteroid can also stunt a child's development and height.

About the Author

Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.