Tips Women with relatively small feet: there's an overlap in US women's and "big kids" shoe sizes


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I was in my late 20s before I realized that as a size 7 women's (US), I can also buy a 5.5 child's size shoe. I've since saved a lot of money buying name brand sneakers, hiking shoes, and sandals because kid's shoes tend to be about $10-20 cheaper than women's. I think the overlap technically includes women's sizes 5-8.5, but the larger big kids shoes are often not available, especially in stores.
@luvmypets Yes absolutely! This has saved me a ton over the years too :) One thing I’ve found though with children’s shoes is a difference in shape - children’s sizes are often wider with a rounder toe compared to the same or similar style in adult size which often run narrower with a longer and more tapered toe box. It usually works for me as I have slightly wider feet but just something to be aware of!
@a413d Unfortunately my feet just seem to be entirely the wrong shape. Wide sizes are too wide, but ordinary sizes are too long. Sneakers fit okay but dress shoes are impossible. I've found a few flats and heeled boots I can wear (although the calves tend to be too small on me, even though I'm a normal weight) but nothing close to fashionable.
@jcislove2331 Have you tried overstuffing the shoes with insoles/padding?

Some insoles are contoured so if you stack them it makes the shoe a narrower fit. And you can just stuff the tip of the shoe with the cut out shavings.
@praisinghim87 Adult shoes really should be wider at the toe box. This is why bunions form. To narrow toe box and it curves evenly towards the center.

Look into barefoot shoes and you’ll see what I mean by the toe box.
@praisinghim87 They also have less arch support. I've been wearing kids shoes literally all my life and have learned they're great for specialty shoes (dress shoes, snow boots, etc) but I have to get adult sizes for daily wear. I'm in my late 30s with a shoe size 6.5 D, and Cat & Jack are the only brand I don't have to try on.
@luvmypets As someone who has worked in shoe design, be very careful. Kids shoes are cheap but cause cheap materials are used. They're designed to be out grown before being worn out. The support and cushion material is significantly under spec'd compared to adult shoes. Wearing kid shoes if your an adult can lead to foot, leg, back problems.

Although I say this fully knowing that it's very common for women to wear rediculously uncomfortable footwear. I'm talking more about practical footwear that high fashion.
@bamisile Yup, this. While some women with smaller feet might be able to fit into kids shoes, they're generally not for the long haul unless you only wear them occasionally. Otherwise, I'm a 6.5 in women's and fit into between a 4 and 5.5 depending on the brand/style.
@bamisile So true. I'm on my third round of buying size 13 kids shoes because my kids feet aren't growing fast enough and they're wearing out the shoe. These are nice adidas and sketchers. My daughter is going into grade 4 and has been wearing size 13 since the second grade. Kids shoes last just about a year with regular use and then they're trash.
@bamisile Working returns in retail I've seen many small folks with small feet returning kids shoes because they fell apart after a few months. Nobody could understand when I asked why they thought the price was less.

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