Life has certainly changed for families in recent weeks, but Start-Rite Shoes, a British family business for eight generations, is used to change. They have proudly been by parents’ sides every step of the way for more than 228 years – understanding families and children; how they live and move; how they develop and grow; and designing footwear that not only supports a child’s developmental needs but also their lifestyle needs.

Through this period of uncertainty, Start-Rite has provided support to both parents and children.

Measure your child’s feet every 6-8 weeks

Start-Rite knows that children’s feet grow quickly. The College of Podiatry estimates over half of children have suffered injuries by wearing shoes that were either too small or unsuitable.

Start-Rite recommends measuring children’s feet every 6 to 8 weeks to ensure shoes fit and are fit for purpose.

With children usually spending 70 percent of their time in school shoes and no opportunity to measure in-store, many parents have been left uncertain about the size of their children’s feet.

Parents can now put their minds at rest by downloading and printing this free and simple-to-use paper measuring gauge.

How to use the Start-Rite paper gauge

If you don’t feel confident in using the gauge, don’t worry – here is a short film to help parents understand how to use it effectively.


What’s more, if access to a printer poses a problem, Start-Rite is able to send a paper gauge to parents in the post. Over 20,000 were sent out during the month of April alone.

Kate Tansley, CEO of Start-Rite Shoes, told us that: “Children normally spend around eight hours a day in their school shoes. While nothing beats the customer service our parents get when their children’s feet are measured and fitted in-store, our paper gauge gives parents reassurance on the size of their children’s feet, in the comfort of their own home. We hope parents will find the paper measuring tool useful.”

Children’s feet are different shapes and sizes, measuring is only the first step to achieving a good fit. It’s also important to check that shoes fit the whole foot.

Top tips on checking your child’s new shoes fit:

Heel grip

Whilst your child is sitting, lift one foot up and hold the ankle with one hand and grip the heel of the shoe with your other hand. Pull down gently a few times to check the shoe is gripping the heel well. Now repeat on the other foot.

Top of the shoe

Ask your child to stand up. Use your fingers to feel around the top of the shoe and check there are no gaps, particularly between the shoe and the heel.


Feel around the ankle bone to check the shoe does not touch the ankle bone, as it could rub. If the shoe has a padded collar it is designed to support the ankle and will touch the ankle bone. It will feel soft and padded.


Feel the top of each shoe for the end of your child’s longest toe. Apply gentle pressure to check the toe is not pressing against the end of the shoe. All our shoes have growing room build in; you should be able to feel the growing room with your thumb.


Feel along each side of the shoe with your hand, you shouldn’t feel any pressure or bulging at the sides, and the widest part of the foot should be in the widest part of the shoe.


Rub your thumb across the top of the shoe, you should feel the leather move with a shallow ripple effect as you push across it. If there is no movement at all the shoe is too narrow, if you can push the leather into a ridge the shoe is too wide.

Depth with a low cut shoe – run a finger under the top part. Make sure it’s not so tight that the foot bulges out of it, and not so loose that there’s a big gap underneath.


Ask your child to walk in the shoes. They should be able to walk easily and naturally. The shoes should not slip off the heel, and there should not be excessive gaping at the sides.

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Meanwhile, when it comes to kids, Start-Rite is keen to keep them moving.

Exercise and movement are good for us and have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing and physical health. We all love to move and always feel better for it.

Regular exercise helps children both physically and mentally. Exercise improves the flow of blood to all parts of the body, including the brain, encouraging children to feel ready to learn and concentrate. It supports children in keeping a healthy weight and builds healthy bones, muscles and joints, whilst also boosting their immune systems. It can help children to feel better about themselves and life by reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. Being physically active allows children to have a better outlook on life by building confidence and increasing self-esteem. In short, exercise releases endorphins which help children to feel happy.

To help in this mission, Start-Rite has launched a series of fun, instructional filmed exercise routines for all children to enjoy.


They’ve worked with Brytespark, experts in human movement, to create a series of exercise routines (filmed before social distancing) that can be done in the house or garden that are tailored for different age groups, including:

Pre-school children aged 5 and under
Primary school children aged 5-to-9
Older children aged 10 plus

The routines, called ‘Take 5-4-5’, include five intervals – a warm-up, high activity, low activity, another high activity and a cool down – that last for five minutes.

Taking inspiration from the well-known High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), these workouts deliver many of the benefits of 23 minutes of aerobic activity and have been designed especially with growing bodies in mind, to keep children’s feet active and minds healthy. For the younger children, the workouts are more story-led, to keep them entertained and focussed throughout the session.

Toddlers are included with a series of fun, short stretches for little ones that mobilise joints, loosen muscles and nerves and increase blood flow, here.

There is also a routine of stretches for older children who are spending more time inactive using screens for school and social.

Kate, CEO of Start-Rite explains the thinking behind the films: “Children’s healthy development has always been at the heart of everything we do, as footwear influences how the child’s whole body develops. Regular exercise helps children both physically and mentally. We’ve created routines that are free to follow, can be done in a short space of time and from the comfort of your own home or garden. We hope families will enjoy them.”

The films and the science behind them are available on Start-Rite’s dedicated well-being microsite.


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