Our Approach to Sizing

Sizing is a minefield! We totally appreciate that and have worked hard to make things much easier for you to measure from home.

Here at Happy Little Soles, we measure all of our shoes in centimetres using a special internal sole measurer. This gives an accurate internal centimetre measurement for each shoe which is then converted into the equivalent UK size for familiarity purposes. Please note the sizing on the box may be different to that stated on the website due to variations in manufacturers sizing.

For accuracy we always recommend that you measure your child's foot in centimetres too, using our measuring guide. This measurement can then be used when searching for shoes on our website. See How to Measure your Feet to get started.

Length Fitting

Use the longest measurement as the foot length, you then need to add an allowance for growing room to establish what length of shoe to choose. Shoe lengths should be a minimum 0.5 cm and a maximum 1.5 cm longer than the longest foot length. How much depends on the age and size of your child and how confident a walker they are. We find around 0.8 - 1cm is usually ideal so aim for that but bear in mind for smaller feet and new walkers you may need a bit less, narrower feet also tend to need a little less growing room. Older, larger or wider feet can get away with a bit more.

It is also worth noting that you may need more or less room depending on the type of footwear you are buying as follows;

  • BOOTS (including wellingtons) - We recommend adding a little more room to allow for thicker socks and extra growing room. An insole and/or a thicker winter sock can help if a boot is slightly too large at first.
  • SHOES AND TRAINERS - We recommend 0.8-1.0cm growing room - please refer to the UK size specified in the table at the bottom of this page.  We have based this on medium width feet, however very narrow thin feet might need a little less room whereas very wide feet may need a little more. 
  • SANDALS - Usually need less growing room due to their more open-toe design and if they are to be worn without socks.

Please see our UK size conversion table below to help identify which UK size you are.

We also recommend that you read the brand and product description pages on our website as we regularly update these based on customer feedback for size, width and fit.

Finally we are always happy to help choose the right shoes for you. If you are still unsure please contact us with your measurements, photos of feet and preferred styles and we will be happy to advise you on suitability and sizing.

Width Fitting

So how do you judge the width of your children’s’ feet? Our system relies on you as the child’s primary carer to know which bracket their feet fall into, just as we know if they're short, tall or average in height. So how do you tell? Generally speaking if your child had very narrow or very wide feet you would probably know. If you aren't sure of the width of your child’s feet then they are probably medium width and we would suggest you start there.

In a barefoot shoe you are not looking to 'hug' the width of the foot but allow sufficient room for little toes to spread out and for the natural expansion and growth of hot, active little feet. This often means that shoes can look a little wider across the width than traditional shoe fitting would allow. This is absolutely fine and normal, you need space across the width just as you need space in the length to allow feet to expand and grow. This is how you allow feet to work as well in a shoe as they do barefoot. Our philosophy is to allow as much space as possible across the toes.

Barefoot shoes are by their nature wide and roomy in order to give little feet the space they need to grow and develop naturally. Children’s feet can expand by up to 20% when hot and active. Barefoot shoes allow for this. However, although a wide fit is important, too wide can of course be detrimental. If the foot is visibly slipping around within the shoe or the child is not walking naturally, the shoe is likely too wide and shouldn’t be worn.

How to Choose Your Shoes

Once you have identified the ideal length and width you can begin to search the website. You can start to search any way you like, with either size, width, brand or shoe type and then filter your selections down to find the perfect shoe.

We have converted each shoe into a UK sizing using our centimetre measurement. The shoes are listed with their official size first. This could be ‘medium’, ’12-18months’, ‘UK4’, ‘US6’, ‘EU22’. It’s whatever the manufacturer uses. Then in brackets next to it will be the inside sole length measured in cm and our UK equivalent size based on this cm measurement.

Please be aware that one of the biggest challenges we face is standardising the sizing structure as sizing varies between brands. For example a UK4 for one brand may be significantly different to a UK4 in another. To help you we have attempted to standardise this by measuring all shoes in centimetres and then converting them into our UK size for familiarity purposes. Please note that this will usually vary a little from the manufacturers conversion as this is unavoidable as we try to standardise across all brands.

When searching for shoes we strongly recommend that you disregard any current shoe size (unless it is the same brand) or measurements that you have taken from another source. To ensure you get the right shoes from our site we recommend that you measure your child's feet in centimetres and then use the conversion table below, which will allow you to search our website to find the right shoes. Always buy based on the cm measurements of the shoe and the cm measurement of your child's foot.

UK Size Conversion Table

Please use this conversion table to convert the centimtetre (cm) measurement for your child’s foot into the advised UK shoe size.  The conversion is based on the recommend growing room for shoes and trainers taking the actual foot measurement and adding 0.8cm for growing room.  If you are looking for Boots or Sandals then please adjust the sizing as advised below;

  • BOOTS (including wellingtons) - We recommend trying a half size above the UK size specified below to allow for thicker socks and extra growing room.
  • SHOES AND TRAINERS - Please use the size specified in the table below.  We have based this on medium width feet, however very narrow thin feet might need to go down by ½ a size whereas very wide feet may need ½ a size bigger. 
  • SANDALS - We recommend choosing half (or even a whole size) below the size specified below to give a better fit.

Please read our notes above on how to adjust this size for different styles and widths.

Actual Foot Length (cm) UK Size Actual Foot Length (cm)
UK Size
10-10.3 1.5 17.6-17.9 10.5
10.4-10.7 2 18-18.3 11
10.8-11.1 2.5 18.4-18.7 11.5
11.2-11.5 3 18.8-19.1 12
11.6-11.9 3.5 19.2-19.5 12.5
12-12.3 4 19.6-19.9 13
12.4-12.7 4.5 20-20.2 13.5
12.8-13.2 5 20.3-20.7 1 junior
13.3-13.7 5.5 20.8-21 1.5 junior
13.8-14.2 6 21.1-21.4 2 junior
14.3-14.7 6.5 21.5-21.8 2.5 junior
14.8-15.1 7 21.9-22.2 3 junior
15.2-15.4 7.5 22.3-22.5 3.5 junior
15.5-15.8 8 22.6-22.8 4 junior
15.9-16.2 8.5 22.9-23.1 4.5 junior
16.3-16.6 9 23.2-23.5 5 junior
16.7-17 9.5 23.6-23.9 5.5 junior
17.1-17.5 10 24-24.3 6 junior