Your child's foot development
How much (and how fast) do children's feet grow?
Every child is different and grow at their own individual pace. Children's feet often grow in spurts and can grow by as much as 1.5 cm in a half-year period. That's why it's important to keep an eye on and measure your child's feet regularly. We recommend checking their foot length every two months until the age of 2 and every three months between the ages of 3 and 6.
Below is how children's feet typically develop and how often you should measure their foot length:
• Growth of approximately 2 cm a year between the ages of 0 to 2. Measure foot length every 2 months.
• Growth of approximately 1.5 cm a year between the ages of 2 to 5. Measure foot length every 3 months.
• Growth of approximately 1 cm a year between the ages of 6 to 11. Measure foot length every 6 months.
Development of a child's foot between the ages of 0 to 2
From the time your child is born to around the time they turn 2, their little feet are soft and flexible. It is completely normal a child to have a so-called 'fat pad' under the arch of the foot during these years. Children at this stage sense a lot with their feet, which is why it is important that they are given the opportunity to feel different types of surfaces, to touch their own feet and get a foot rub now and then. It is a good idea to allow your child to walk around in socks or barefoot, to allow for development in the musculature in their feet.
The first steps
Children between the ages of 0 and 2 should only start wearing shoes once they have learned to walk. Until then, socks and slippers should suffice. Once your child is on the verge of taking their first few steps, it would be helpful to give him or her a pair of soft and flexible first walker shoes to help support their footing.
The first pair of shoes
The first pair of shoes should not have arch support so that the big toe extends naturally from the metatarsal bones. As the child walks, their foot will move up and forwards over the big toe, while the other toes help control the foot. If the shoes have arch support, this will prevent the foot from moving as above and can contribute to a passive foot musculature. The toddler's foot arch begins to develop as the fat pad disappears. This is a result of the foot moving up and forwards over the big toe when walking and running.
The first pair of shoes need to be light-weight with a solid heel cap and should fit snug around the foot. They need to have the proper amount of space for the toes and must have flexible soles that allow the foot to move naturally. The shoes should either have lace-up or Velcro closures, allowing for adjustments over the instep, thereby adapting the fit of the shoe to the child's foot.
Development of a child's foot between the ages of 2 to 3
Around the age of 3, the foot is still flexible and soft, but the muscles and arch begin to mature. It becomes more narrow and starts to look like a more fully developed foot.