Our children's shoe-fitting service

Best feet forward

Most of us remember getting our feet measured for school shoes as a child – many customers say it was their first experience of John Lewis! More often than not this was a chore rather than a fun day out for both parent and child, so hopefully times have changed since then. But it's not until you become a parent that you may realise why it's so important for children to wear properly fitting shoes - even before they take their first steps.

Our shoe-fitting service

Up to the age of four, your child's feet can grow by up to two whole sizes a year, and by the time they start school this will slow to one size a year. This is why regular checks (every 6-8 weeks) are vital to aid rapidly developing feet.

Our children’s shoe-fitting service is available in all our shops except for High Wycombe and our at home stores. All our fitters are professionally trained by either Clarks or Start-rite, and will be able to advise you on the best shoe style and brand for your child. They'll measure the length and width of both feet, and have a choice of shoes for your child to try on to find which style best suits their foot shape.

Fitting and measuring

If you think you child's had a growth spurt, do pop in to your local children's shoe department in one of our shops where we'd be happy to check - alternatively, you can do this at home. The general rule is, that if a child's foot is right up to the end of the shoe, it's too small. There should be a thumb's width of space between the toes and the front of the shoe.

We also sell a special measuring gauge, designed by Start-rite, which you can use at home. There are 2 gauges, a small gauge which measures 2 junior to 8.5 junior, and the large gauge which measures 9 junior upwards. See our guide to using the Start-rite size gauge here.

Remember though, that shoes that are too big can do as much damage as those that are too small, so unlike clothing, it's not a good idea to buy shoes they can grow into!

Foot development

So, when will your child be ready for their first pair of shoes? As with many things, each child's feet develop at different rates so it's also important not to put them in shoes that are too heavy before they're ready.

Your child will most likely go through three stages of walking development before they take their first independent steps. John Lewis stocks a wide range of first shoes which have been specially designed to give maximum support and comfort during each stage of development.

We recommend that barefoot is best for as long as possible, but of course there will be times when you want a bit more protection and comfort than just socks. Crawling shoes are soft and flexible enough to allow movement, while still supporting the key areas of the developing foot.

Cruising shoes will allow your child to still feel the floor whilst moving and have built in support in the toe and heel to aid standing up and give confidence before they are ready for their first pair of independent walking shoes. By this stage, your child will be able to wear more sturdy shoes, which will still be lightweight and flexible enough to allow them to run around and play.

Both Clarks and Start-rite produce these first shoes, and in our shops we fit both these brands for children. Both brands are probably best known for school shoes, but also offer casual shoes, trainers, sandals and boots, giving you confidence that whatever shoes your child is wearing, they fit properly. All school shoes are designed to be both comfortable enough to wear all day and robust enough to survive the wear and tear of the playground, while still being fashionable.

Other shoes

Of course, it's not just uniform shoes that children have to have now for school. They need plimsolls, dance shoes, football and rugby boots and wellies. We also stock popular fashion brands such as Lelli Kelly, UGG, Hunter, Joules, and Converse as well as our own John Lewis range of slippers, casual and school shoes and sports brands Nike, and Adidas.

So next time you're out shopping do pop in and see us - although remember that school holidays are our busiest time, so waiting times can increase significantly! If you can come in early, or make the most of late-night shopping, you may well dodge the queues.