Buying shoes for growing kids can be tricky. At 12 years old, most boys are going through growth spurts which means their feet are constantly changing sizes. If your 12 year old boy needs new shoes, you’re probably wondering what size to buy so they last more than just a few months.

If you don’t have time to read this full guide, here’s a quick answer: the average shoe size for a 12 year old boy is around size 7 in U.S. sizes.

Average Foot Size for 12 Year Old Boys

US Shoe Sizes

When it comes to shoe sizes for 12-year-old boys in the United States, the average foot size can vary. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average shoe size for boys in this age group falls between a US size 5 and 6.

However, it is important to note that foot size can differ depending on genetics, ethnicity, and other factors.

UK Shoe Sizes

In the United Kingdom, shoe sizes are measured differently compared to the United States. The average foot size for 12-year-old boys in the UK typically ranges from a UK size 4 to 5. This conversion is based on the UK shoe sizing system, which uses different measurements for length and width compared to the US system.

EU Shoe Sizes

In European countries, shoe sizes are measured using the European Union (EU) shoe sizing system. The average foot size for 12-year-old boys in the EU usually falls between an EU size 36 and 38. It’s worth noting that EU sizes are based on the length of the foot in centimeters, making it a more accurate measurement compared to other sizing systems.

It’s important to remember that these average shoe sizes are just general guidelines. Every child is unique, and their foot size may deviate from the average. It’s always recommended to measure a child’s feet before purchasing shoes to ensure the best fit and comfort.

Factors That Influence Shoe Size

Genetics and Family History

One of the primary factors that influence a child’s shoe size is genetics and family history. Just like other physical traits, such as hair color or height, shoe size can be inherited from parents. If both parents have larger feet, it’s likely that their child will also have a larger shoe size.

On the other hand, if both parents have smaller feet, their child is more likely to have a smaller shoe size. However, it’s important to note that genetics is not the sole determining factor and other factors can also play a role.

Growth Spurts

Growth spurts are another factor that can influence a child’s shoe size. During these periods of rapid growth, children may experience an increase in shoe size as their feet grow along with the rest of their body.

Growth spurts commonly occur during adolescence, which is why it’s particularly relevant to consider when discussing the average shoe size for a 12-year-old boy. It’s worth noting that growth spurts can vary in terms of duration and intensity from child to child.


The weight of a child can also play a role in determining their shoe size. Research has shown that there is a correlation between body weight and foot size, with heavier individuals generally having larger feet.

This is because the feet bear the weight of the body, and the additional pressure can cause the foot to spread and become wider. However, it’s important to remember that weight is just one of many factors that can influence shoe size, and it may not be the sole determining factor.

Foot Shape

Another factor that can influence shoe size is foot shape. The shape of a child’s foot can vary greatly from person to person, and this can affect the size and fit of shoes. Some children may have wider feet, while others may have narrower feet.

Additionally, the arch of the foot can also impact shoe size. Those with higher arches may require larger shoes to accommodate the height of the arch, while those with flatter feet may need smaller shoes.

It’s important to consider foot shape when determining the average shoe size for a 12-year-old boy.

How to Measure Your Child’s Feet

When it comes to finding the right shoe size for your 12-year-old boy, it’s important to measure his feet accurately. Here are three methods you can use to ensure a proper fit:

Using a Brannock Device

A Brannock Device is a specialized tool commonly found in shoe stores that accurately measures foot length, width, and arch length. It is a reliable method to determine the correct shoe size for your child.

Simply have your child stand on the device with their heel against the back, and adjust the sliders to fit their foot. The device will provide the appropriate measurements, helping you select the right shoe size.

At Home Measurement

If you don’t have access to a Brannock Device, you can measure your child’s feet at home using a ruler or tape measure. Have your child stand barefoot on a piece of paper and mark the outline of their feet.

Measure the length of the outline from the heel to the longest toe, and the width at the widest part of the foot. Refer to a size chart provided by shoe manufacturers to determine the appropriate shoe size based on these measurements. Don’t forget to take into account any growth room needed.

Getting Professionally Fitted

For the most accurate measurement, consider taking your child to a professional shoe fitter. These experts have the knowledge and experience to properly measure and assess your child’s feet, taking into account factors like arch type and foot shape.

They can recommend the right shoe size and style that will provide optimal comfort and support for your child’s growing feet.

Remember, it’s important to regularly measure your child’s feet, as their shoe size can change over time. Properly fitting shoes are essential for their foot health and overall comfort. So take the time to measure their feet using one of these methods and ensure they are wearing the right size shoes for their growing feet.

Signs It’s Time for New Shoes

Toes Curling or Crowded at End of Shoe

One of the signs that it may be time for a 12-year-old boy to get new shoes is if his toes are curling or feeling crowded at the end of the shoe. This can indicate that his feet have outgrown the current shoe size and need a larger size for proper comfort and support.

It’s important for shoes to have enough room for the toes to move freely without any discomfort or restriction.

Red Marks or Blisters After Wearing

If your 12-year-old boy is experiencing red marks or blisters on his feet after wearing his shoes, it’s a clear indication that the shoes are not fitting properly. The friction caused by shoes that are too tight or rubbing in the wrong places can lead to discomfort and skin irritation.

It’s crucial to address this issue by getting new shoes that fit correctly to prevent further discomfort and potential foot problems.

Complaints of Pain in Feet or Legs

If your 12-year-old boy frequently complains about pain in his feet or legs, it could be a sign that his shoes are not providing adequate support or cushioning. Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes can cause discomfort and even lead to foot and leg pain.

It’s important to listen to your child’s complaints and take them seriously. Getting new shoes that offer proper support and cushioning can help alleviate any pain or discomfort he may be experiencing.

Wearing Down Heels Significantly

Another sign that it’s time for new shoes is if your 12-year-old boy’s heels are significantly worn down. This can indicate that the shoes are no longer providing the necessary support and shock absorption. Over time, shoes wear out and lose their ability to provide proper cushioning and stability.

It’s important to regularly check the condition of your child’s shoes and replace them when necessary to ensure their feet are well-supported and protected.

Tips for Buying the Right Size

Try Shoes On in Afternoon/Evening

When shopping for shoes for a 12-year-old boy, it’s important to remember that feet tend to swell throughout the day. To ensure the best fit, it’s recommended to try shoes on in the afternoon or evening when the feet are at their largest size.

This will help prevent the shoes from feeling too tight or uncomfortable later on.

Bring Socks to Try On with Shoes

Another helpful tip is to bring along the socks that your child will typically wear with their shoes. This will give you a more accurate idea of how the shoes will fit when worn with socks. Socks can add extra bulk to the foot, so it’s important to take this into consideration when selecting the right size.

Have Child Stand During Fitting

When trying on shoes, it’s important to have your child stand up and walk around in them. This will give you a better sense of how the shoes feel and fit while in motion. Your child should be able to move their toes comfortably without any restrictions.

Additionally, make sure there is enough room in the width and length of the shoe for proper foot movement.

Allow Thumb Space In Toe Box

One key aspect to consider when buying shoes for a 12-year-old boy is the amount of space in the toe box. There should be approximately a thumb’s width of space between the end of the shoe and the longest toe. This allows for proper foot growth and prevents the toes from feeling cramped or confined.

Consider Growth Rate When Sizing Up

As children go through growth spurts, their feet can grow rapidly. When buying shoes for a 12-year-old boy, it’s important to consider their growth rate. While it may be tempting to buy shoes that are slightly larger to accommodate for growth, it’s important not to go too big.

Shoes that are too large can cause discomfort and affect a child’s balance and stability. It’s recommended to choose shoes that provide a little bit of extra room for growth, but still fit properly in the present.


Buying shoes for a growing 12 year old boy can seem tricky, but understanding average foot sizes and how to measure feet properly will help you pick the right size. Pay attention to signs it’s time for a size upgrade like cramped toes or rubbing.

With some practical tips for an accurate fitting, you can buy shoes that will last more than just a few months before the next growth spurt hits.

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