It’s a time-honored tale: your preschooler is ready for his first pair of skates, and there they are, waiting under the Christmas tree.
Unfortunately, you’ve purchased the wrong size, which is how you end up standing in a ridiculously long line at the customer service counter the next day, waiting to return the useless pair for ones that actually fit — all with your crying 4-year-old in tow.
Don’t let it happen to you! Skate-sizing is simple with a little research and a few practical tips.
The first step to choosing the proper skate size is knowing your preschooler’s shoe size. Children’s shoe sizes run from 0 to 13; once a child outgrows a children’s 13, he moves to an adult’s size 1.
Though there are no specific shoe sizes correlated to age, on average, your toddler will wear a children’s 4 to 10, while your preschooler will wear a children’s 10 to an adult’s size 3. If you’re uncertain about your preschooler’s proper shoe size, local shoe retailers will be able to measure this for you, and there are a variety of shoe sizing resources available online.
Children’s Skate Sizes
If your preschooler or toddler is still wearing children’s sizes, her skate size will be the same as her shoe size; however, children’s skates are labelled with a “J” for “Juvenile.” Therefore a J5 skate is a children’s size 5, while a skate marked “Size 5” will be an adult’s size 5. If your preschooler is still in children’s sizes, make sure the skate is marked specifically for juveniles.
Adult’s Skate Sizes
If your child is wearing adult shoe sizes, skate sizing is simple, as adult skate sizes correspond to men’s and women’s shoe sizes. This applies no matter what type of skate you need to purchase — roller skates, inline skates, figure skates or hockey skates.
However, it is important to note that certain types of speed skates are often sold in men’s sizes only, so if your daughter is wearing women’s sizes, she will need to have the women’s shoe size converted to a men’s shoe size in order to get a pair of speed skates that fit correctly. Check with your retailer in order to determine whether or not their speed skates come in men’s sizes only.
Most skate manufacturers recommend that you order skates that are one size larger than your child’s shoe size because children’s feet grow so quickly.
However, this is a decision left up to your discretion, and it is important to never order more than one size larger for safety reasons. Many retailers also sell growth inserts that will allow your preschooler’s skate to fit properly before he grows into the larger size.