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What to Look for When Buying Narrow Shoes for Kids

Do you have a kid with narrow feet? Do you have a hard time finding the right shoe fit for them? Are you sometimes annoyed that you cannot see if the footwear is labeled as narrow shoes for kids?

If the answer is yes, we understand you, and thus, we are here to help. We’ve prepared a thorough guide on what you should look for when buying narrow shoes for your little one since many shoe brands do not mention that.

Let’s check it!


What is Considered a Narrow Foot?

If you find that shoe size fits the length of your kid’s feet but leaves space on the sides, this probably means that your little one might have narrow feet. 


But if you are unsure, we recommend you visit a healthcare provider and determine whether your kid has narrow or even wide feet.  


Can I Correct My Kid’s Narrow Feet?

We recommend you not to buy too small or too big shoes nor try to reshape it in any kind of way. But there is, however, an option on how to help a kid with the narrow-width foot.

You may want to consider insoles that are meant to fit outside the foot width. Essentially, this adds extra space on the side of your kid’s shoes so that their foot fits better. 


This technique may be best suited for sneakers or running shoes that can tie at the top for a more secure fit, depending on how narrow the kid’s feet are.

Overall, our advice is to always ask your little ones how they are feeling in their shoes. Even when you use insoles, a kid’s feet and toes should not be squished or curled up, but rather enough space to feel comfortable and not too sloppy at the same time.


Narrow Feet VS Wide Feet 

Kids with narrow feet usually have extra space on the sides of their shoes, white kids with wide fit have no space, and their toes are usually squished.  

To help with extra space, some insoles fit the outside of the foot width. As a result, the extra space is taken up, resulting in more snug-fitting shoes. However, this method is best for sports shoes like sneakers. 

The width of narrow-fitting shoes is 1/ 4″ smaller than that of medium shoes and 1/ 2″ smaller than that of wide shoes. Wide fitting shoes are 1/ 4″ more than medium shoes and 1/ 2″ more than narrow shoes. The width determines the measurements of both wide and narrow shoes.


Wrong fitting shoes can lead to discomfort and squeezed toes, so the best thing to do is determine the right shoe size. 

Kids’ shoe companies typically manufacture shoes in medium (M), Wide (W), and extra-wide (XW) widths. However, these companies usually fail to address the needs of kids with narrow feet.


Measure Your Kid’s Feet

Parents worry a lot, and we understand, but thankfully, this is no longer necessary with all the resources available today. So we can tell you right away that worrying about fitting your kid’s shoes is not the way to go.

Instead, you can use the Footmeter tool to easily, and 100% accurately measures your kid’s feet. Ensuring that your child’s shoes fit properly from the start could save them a lot of discomforts!

Tips on measuring your kid’s feet

  • Whether you have a kid or a baby, it’s recommended that you measure their feet at the end of the day. Just like adults, kids’ feet might get a bit swollen in the afternoon or after walking for longer.
  • Ask your kid to wear the socks that they usually wear. It is recommended to have socks that are not too thick nor too thin but just with a medium thickness.
  • It is recommended that you allow for approximately 5 inches between his longest toes and the front of the shoe length.
  • Once they wear the shoes, make sure they jump or walk for a bit to ensure they are comfortable.


Narrow Shoes for Kids

No parent wants their kid slipping and sliding around in their shoes. However, they’re clumsy enough, so giving them the challenge of hobbling around in oversized shoes might not be the best choice.

Therefore, try to check the slipperiness of the shoes. Place your little one in the chair and grab hold of its shoe-clad foot. Try holding their ankle and tugging on the heel of the shoe. If it slides off easily, the shoes are probably too large.

However, if there is a small gap between the foot and the shoe, that is totally fine. The most important thing is that the heel doesn’t slip when the kid is walking.

There may be a gap on top of a shoe every time a kid tries it on, which might indicate that a kid has a narrow foot. But, this might be the result of the foot’s depth rather than the width, so a simple insole will probably solve this issue. 

On the other hand, if your kid wears a pair of narrow shoes or even narrow-medium and, in fact, doesn’t have narrow feet, chances are it will rub against their toes and heel, which can cause frictions and blisters. 

In addition, it is uncomfortable to wear such footwear. Plus, narrow shoes are also not air-permeable for a kid with a wide foot.

Therefore, the best thing to do is to check out with a trained professional that will be able to help and advise you on what type of shoes you should get for your little one.


What to Look for When Buying Narrow Shoes for Kids?

There are different types of shoes for kids. The ones for wide feet, for narrow feet, the ones for different weather and occasion, and the ones with a different kind of closure. 

For a tough-to-fit foot, the more flexible and malleable the shoe, the better.

To cater to narrow feet, look out for shoes with laces. Shoes with laces will consider length, width, and thickness to ensure the perfect fit for your kid. Besides, with laces, you can tighten it up or loosen up the width of the shoe almost as much as you like. 

Comfort and durability. Shoes that are comfortable and crafted from durable materials are always a plus. Try to seek shoes that will mold the kid’s natural foot shape, support natural foot development, and have flexible soles for easy movement. 

These are some basic guidelines, but now, let’s check the buying guide for narrow shoes for kids.


Narrow-Width Shoe

Narrow shoes are generally 0.2 inches narrower than standard footwear and more than third of an inch smaller than wide shoes. But this can very from brand to brand and, of course, from the style of the shoes. 

Nevertheless, shoe labels vary, so always check the brand’s size chart. 


Snug-Fit Feature

Usually, narrow shoes for kids are rarely labeled as one. This doesn’t mean that the shoes aren’t narrow in width; it is just that they are not designed as one. You can simply look at them and figure it out.  

As mentioned above, some kids’ shoe companies usually manufacture shoes in medium (M), Wide (W), and extra-wide (XW) widths. And if they are not labeled, again, you can figure it out on your own by simply at looking at the shoe width.

Laces are also a great option that will provide a snug, narrow fit. In addition, it will create a secure, locked-down feel as you tighten the shoelaces.


Narrow Width Shoes for Sports 

If your kid is interested in running, training, or any kind of sports, you might want to look for shoes with a narrow fit.

For instance, internal webbing can help distribute the pressure around your midfoot. This will give you a secure feeling even when braking suddenly or changing direction quickly.


Insert Insoles or Socks

If you can’t find a shoe that fits your kid’s tiny feet, then an insole can be a good choice to create a more stable fit.

In general, this works better in shoes with laces, as the insole may raise your foot higher in the shoe, requiring you to adjust the laces.

Try to look out for insoles that give the right amount of arch support and cushioning. Placing it in your shoe may assist in reducing slipping and sliding, as well as overall friction.

Besides that, you can also try to give your kid a thicker sock. While this may not be the best solution for everyone, the sock takes up extra space on the sides of your kid’s foot and can help you avoid unwanted movement.


High and Low Instep

Each foot is different with its own characteristics, which make different demands on the footwear. 

If your kid has a foot with a high ankle or a wide foot, you’ll want to ensure there’s adequate room for their foot. If your youngster has a narrow foot or a low ankle, ensure the shoes aren’t too loose.

This can cause the foot to slip in the shoe, the toes to rub against one other, or high pressure on the toes to keep the shoe securely on the foot.

Some parents are concerned that their kids might have flat feet. But, kids in their childhood have almost no arches. Therefore, our advice is not to look out for shoes with definite arch support.

The feet of all kids appear to be ‘flatfooted.’ This is totally normal and results from the fact that babies are born with a fat pad and muscles and tendons that have not yet fully formed.

Therefore, the arch of a baby does not fully form until the kid is roughly 7 years old. Only then will you be able to determine whether or not your little one is flatfooted.

However, if you are still worried that your kid might have some foot complications, seek a health specialist like a physiotherapist and get all the support and advice you need.



  • Petra Moskatelo

    Petra is the main editor and writer here at Footmeter. She is passionate about helping people find the right solution. She holds a university Master's degree in pedagogy, and she knows a lot about children and learning.