One of the pressing questions you’re likely to have as a parent is when your child’s feet will stop growing.
I know I did when my kids were going through so many pairs of shoes because their feet seemed to be growing all the time!
My boys were particularly frustrating with this and it got me keen to find out more about why this is.
Don’t worry, they do stop growing but it varies a bit between genders.
The answer to 'when do boys feet stop growing' is usually going to be different to 'when do girls feet stop growing'.
It’s all about when the growth plates in the feet close. This can be different for boys and girls so their feet won’t usually finish developing at the same time.
Around 80% of their foot growth will happen by the time they’re 10 but there’s still a way to go after this!
Teenage boys’ feet are one of the first things to grow when they hit puberty. Going through plenty of shoes is one of the first signs that they’re approaching this time.
For most boys, their feet will keep growing until they’re around 15 or 16. After this, boys’ feet usually stop growing and they will get a permanent shoe size.
Most girls’ feet will grow until they’re around 13 or 14.
Most of their foot growth will have happened by the age of 10 but that’s only part of the story.
While girls tend to see 90% of their foot growth by this age, it can take a few more years for their feet to finish growing.
Once they come into their early teens, most girls’ feet stop growing and settle down to a permanent shoe size.
For both boys and girls, studies have shown that their feet grow fastest between 12 and 30 months of age. They can need new shoes every 1-2 months at this point but it starts to scale down as they get older.
Once they reach the age of 6, the same study indicated that new shoes are needed every 6 months. So, as they get older, they don’t need new shoes quite as often - although their feet are still growing, of course!
From the age of 8, the metatarsal and phalangeal bones start to develop. These will fuse together over the next decade of your child’s life but poor fitting shoes can hinder this.
By the age of 18, this process should be complete and the feet are developed.
Short of painful foot binding, you can’t make feet any smaller. What you can do is reduce flattening of the feet, which would make them bigger in size.
Some tips include:
- Arch supports in your shoes that will stop your feet getting flatter and bigger. Sports shoes can be good for this.
- Not going barefoot on flat surfaces, which can flatten your feet. If you don’t want to wear shoes on flat surfaces, try sandals or slippers that have arch support.
- Making sure that your shoes are the right fit for your feet and getting measured if you’re not sure. Shoes that don’t fit well can be painful and encourage flatter feet.
Other factors that can affect foot size include:
- Good nutrition, which is essential for healthy bones and foot growth. If your boy or girl isn’t getting a balanced diet, it can have an impact on how their feet grow.
- Pregnancy hormones, which can affect the ligaments in the feet
This Youtube video explains some of the things that can impact on foot size as you age:
Do your feet keep growing as you get older? Surprisingly, the answer is yes!
It’s not something that you need to worry about for your kids though. Once their feet have developed, they won’t change too much until they’re well into adulthood.
As you get older, your feet start to flatten out and get longer. This is partly because the tendons and ligaments weaken with age, especially if you put weight on. After you hit 40, it’s not that uncommon to gain half a shoe size every decade.
And that’s not all …
Feet can actually get smaller too. This usually happens if you lose weight, especially for significant weight loss.
So as you can see, most girls have developed feet by their early teens while boys take a bit longer to stop growing. After this, their foot size should stay pretty constant - until they get a lot older, anyway!
But wait, there’s more ….
With good foot care and the right footwear, you can stop your child's feet getting flatter. This won't make them smaller but it can prevent them getting bigger.
Got any questions about this topic? Let me know in the comments and I’ll answer as soon as I can!