What does GS mean in shoes? Complete Guide + Size Chart

What does gs mean in shoes - faverie

Picking out the perfect pair of shoes can take quite a bit of effort. First, you have to decide the overall look of the shoes that you want to wear. You can choose from something that is more in the range of being used for athletic purposes. There are also dressier shoes that can be worn with a formal outfit.

After you’ve selected the style of shoes that you’re interested in, you can go on to think about the sizing that you’ll need. It’s really important that your shoes fit you well. This will keep your foot comfortable throughout the course of the day, but wearing a properly fitting shoe can prevent issues like ingrown nails, blisters, and hammer toe.

In this article, we will be talking about the term “GS” in the world of shoes. This is a label that some shoes get to indicate sizing within a certain range. It’s important you know what different shoe industry terms mean. 

When you go to pick out shoes, you’ll be able to choose from a certain group of shoes or opt for something that’s outside that genre. So let’s get started by answering the question: “What does GS mean in shoes?”.

What Does GS Mean in Shoes?

If you see a pair of shoes that are labeled with “GS,” this means that they are part of the grade school category. Essentially, these are all of the various sizes that would fit school-aged children.

Detail feet kids chairs floor

When looking at GS shoe sizes, you’ll find that these shoes will typically fit a child that is somewhere in grades kindergarten and up. This is a larger shoe size than a child would wear if they were younger and still in the age range of baby or toddler. 

For most brands, GS shoe sizes start at a children’s 3Y and go all the way up to a 7Y. However, we’ve found that some brands will change their range a little bit by a size or two. Depending on the brand, you may be able to find half sizes in the GS range as well.

Looking through the different types of shoes that your child can wear can be a daunting task based on all of the different available options. However, sizing is what you really need to pay attention to. 

Some children have very wide feet, and you may be able to find GS sizes that come in varying widths. Some brands will offer normal width, wide, and even extra wide. The ultimate goal is to make sure that your child is comfortable in a pair of shoes. 

They should have a little bit of extra room to grow into but stay away from shoes that are a half or full size too big. This could lead to foot issues, especially since this is an age where the foot grows quite a bit in a short amount of time.

GS shoe size chart

There is a specific GS shoe size chart that you can reference if you’re in the process of finding your child a new pair of shoes to wear. This chart starts at 3Y and progresses through half sizes until it stops at 7Y. 

The GS sizing is also relevant for the UK and European sizing. For the UK sizing, GS would begin at 3 and would end at 6.5. For the European sizing, it would go from 3.5 to 40.

As an example, the GS sizing chart would look like this:


3.5Y 3 3.5

4Y 3.5 36

4.5Y 4 36.5

5Y 4.5 37.5

5.5Y 5 38

6Y 5.5 38.5

6.5Y 6 39

7Y 6.5 40

It’s very rare for a children’s shoe brand to skip half sizes, but it’s not unheard of. This is especially true for things like sandals, boots, athletic cleats, etc. If your child seems to be in between two sizes, it’s generally recommended that you would go up one-half size to the next size up. 

When you go to a shoe store, the employees should be able to measure your child’s foot to see what size they’re currently at. They can tell you if your child falls into the GS sizing.

How many sizes are in GS?

As we mentioned in the previous sections of this article, GS sizing starts with 3.5Y in the United States. It will then increase by half sizes until you get to 7Y, where it will stop. That would be because there are eight different sizes within the GS sizing chart. 

After that point, when your child has grown beyond a size 7, the selection moves over to big kid’s shoes and then adult men’s and women’s varieties.


The 3.5Y sizing as part of the GS group of children’s shoes is the smallest option you can find. This is a size up from 3, which would be considered for toddlers. Of course, some children will grow faster than others, which may mean certain toddlers will have to branch into the GS shoe size range before they would actually hit grade school.


The 4Y shoe size is a half-size up from 3.5Y. When you go up one-half size in children’s shoes, this usually gets you about 4.23-millimeter extras space from the front to the back. The width can also increase a little bit as the sizing goes up, but that appears to be much more gradual.


The 4.5Y GS shoe size gets you substantially into the GS range. Your child’s foot will be around 4 7/8 inches if they are going to fit into a 4.5 shoe. Depending on the brand, they may feel more comfortable going up a size to a 5Y.


When your child fits into a 5Y GS shoe, their foot will typically be approximately 5 inches. It’s important to note that the size of your child’s foot in inches doesn’t always match up to the actual shoe size they will wear.


Upon reaching the 5.5Y shoe size, your child’s foot will be about 5 1/8 inches in length. Some children move through these sizes very quickly. You may expect your child to grow out of their shoes anywhere from every four months to eight months.


The 6Y GS shoe size is for children that are measuring around 5 ¼ inches in length. It’s a good idea to pick up a pair of shoes in the next size up shortly after buying a new pair. This will ensure you have another pair ready to go when their current pair is no longer comfortable for them.


The 6.5Y shoe size is the second to last shoe size within the GS range. It means your child’s foot is measuring 5 ½ inches long.


The last US size that falls into the category of GS shoes is 7Y. A child’s foot measures 5 5/8 inches when they have hit this point. After they have grown out of their size 7Y shoe, they will be going into the big kid’s sizing.

What’s the difference between GS and regular shoes?

If you’ve ever done some shopping for shoes online or paid attention to the different sections of shoes in a store, you may have noticed that there are a few different categories to select from in addition to their being sections for men/women and boys/girls.

If you’re purchasing shoes that are within the GS range, you have a child that is school age. This could be anywhere from five to 11 or 12, depending on the size of your child and where they fall on a growth chart. 

Some kids end up growing very quickly, resulting in the need for new shoes more often. There are also children that are quite tall but simply don’t have large feet. They will stay in the same size for close to an entire school year.

If you’re shopping for the regular shoe scale, this means that you are looking at adult shoes for men or women. The sizing for adult shoes starts at six and goes to 16 for men. Women’s shoes will start at size four and then go up to size 12. Some brands may alter their sizing a little bit to include other sizes higher up or lower down on the scale.

The reason for having this different sizing is that children’s feet don’t have the same shape as an adult’s feet do. Children tend to have much wider feet that will become narrower as they grow. 

Family mom dad kid feet sofa

Everyone loves cute little baby toes, and that extra fat that children have on their feet will dramatically impact how they are able to wear their shoes. An adult’s foot or even a teenager’s foot will be slender and flatter on the top in comparison. 

Accommodating for these differences allows everyone to find a pair of shoes that they feel comfortable in. They can also avoid pain and other foot complications that can arise from wearing shoes that are too narrow or too short.

Can adults wear GS sizes?

There is no real reason why an adult can’t wear GS shoe sizes if that’s what they fit into. There are plenty of adults (especially petite women) that have more of a short stature and have smaller feet. 

If they find that a GS shoe size accommodates their needs more than an adult shoe will, they can try a grade-school level shoe on and see if that works for them.

Keep in mind that GS sizing tends to be pretty small unless you’re getting up to the higher end of the scale. Most adults will either fit into their own category of shoes, or they will opt to purchase shoes from the big kid category. Big kid shoes tend to be narrower than shoes for young children, and they have a different feel to them.

GS shoes have not been designed with adults in mind. If you are an adult that finds this range of shoe sizes to be comfortable, you’re probably in the minority. As long as the shoe feels good on your feet and you don’t feel like you’re squeezing your foot into something that doesn’t work for you, you can try something out from the GS range. 

Though, you might get lucky with pricing. GS shoes cost much less than adult sizing, even when you’re higher up on the scale. That’s because fewer materials are used in the construction of the shoes. They’re just smaller, so there’s no real justification for charging the same price across the board.

Other ways to describe shoe sizes

There are many different terms that are used in the shoe industry to describe what kind of shoe you’re looking at and what the sizing includes. In this section, we’re going to go over the other ways to describe shoe sizes. 

It’s beneficial to know these terms so that you can educate yourself before you shop for shoes for yourself or your children. You may be able to use this information to make a more affordable purchase or to find something that fits perfectly.


The GS shoe size is what we’re talking about in this article. It refers to the term “Grade School.” These are shoe sizes that will be relevant for kids within the age range of about 5 to 12. 

They will then progress to bigger kid sizes before then going into the adult range. GS refers to shoes for both boys and girls. Many manufacturers are even coming up with unisex shoe styles that look relevant for both genders.


Have you seen the label “PS” on a specific pair of shoes and asked yourself “What does PS mean in shoes”? If so, you will now know that PS refers to shoes that are appropriately sized for preschool students. 

This sizing is applicable for kids that have an average heel-to-toe length of approximately 6-8 ⅜ inches. This is a size range above baby/infant shoes, but they are smaller sizes than you’ll find in the GS shoe size range.


The shoe-related acronym BG represents a boy’s grade only. This means a pair of shoes that you’re looking at, which are labeled with BG, will apply to boys that are in grade school. It’s essentially part of the GS category but refers to the gender of the shoe more than just the sizing.


The letter “C” refers to children’s shoe sizing. Most commonly, within the range of sizes 2T all the way up to size 6 or so (depending on the brand). The B can indicate the width of the shoe. A shoe that is labeled with BB or another double set of letters would reflect increased width.


When you’re looking at shoes designed for children in grade school, and you see a label that says “GG,” this means the shoe in question was designed specifically for grade school girls. 

While boys are perfectly welcome to wear this style of shoe as well, the shoe itself may be narrower than something for boys, as girls tend to have a narrower foot at this age range. The color and design may also be more feminine.


TD labeling on kids’ shoes refers to the toddler range. This is footwear for children that are between the ages of one and three, though your three-year-old might move up into the GS range if they are growing faster than other children their age. 

Toddler shoes are usually manufactured in a way that makes them a lot lighter than your average shoe for older children or adults. That’s because children at this age tend to be pretty unsteady. 

They benefit from being able to easily lift their foot and maneuver around their space. Some toddler shoes will even have a specific design on the sole that makes it easier for them to develop a proper step pattern.


Adult holding kids hands

EP is used by some shoe companies to express that a specific shoe has been manufactured with engineered performance features. This is a common term for an athletic shoe that will help you run faster, navigate various terrains and keep your foot comfortable. Not all brands feature the EP label.

Tips and advice for finding the right shoe size

If your child is in need of a new pair of shoes, don’t get stuck wondering how you’re going to figure out what size shoe they need. It’s really important that you make sure you select the right size, but this process should be relatively easy in general. 

Here is a list of tips we would like to share with you regarding finding the right shoe size. These tips often work for both children and adults, so try them out on yourself the next time you need a new pair of shoes.

Get Your Child Measured by a Professional

Shopping online for a new pair of shoes can be very convenient, but finding the right size can become difficult when you’re buying shoes that haven’t been tried on, and you haven’t seen them. 

It’s a good idea to make trips to a local shoe store where a professional can measure your child’s foot for you. This will help determine what shoe range you should be shopping from. If your child is close to two sizes, you can get a professional opinion regarding which size to opt for.

Size Up When in Doubt

If you’re debating between two different sizes of shoes, it’s always a good idea to size up a half size. Kids’ feet grow very quickly, so it’s a good idea to give them a little room to grow into. 

This will save you some money, but it also helps keep your child’s foot from being pressed up against the toes or the heel. This could lead to the formation of blisters which can make your child very uncomfortable and affect how they walk.

Try On Different Brands of Shoes

Once you know what size your child is going to be working with, try on a few different brands of shoes. The funny thing about buying shoes is that a size might work really well for one brand. 

Another brand may require you to go up half a size or even a full size in order to get the same level of comfort. Just because your child is measured at a certain size doesn’t mean you can’t move up or down accordingly.

Don’t Forget about the Width of Your Child’s Feet

This article has largely focused on the different sizes that a child can choose from, but these sizes refer to the length of their foot for the most part. It’s also important that you think about the width of your child’s foot. 

Some children have very narrow and petite feet that fit into your standard shoe sizes. There are other children that can’t even get their wide foot into a normal shoe. In this case, don’t try and force your child’s foot into a shoe that isn’t comfortable for them. Make sure you’re buying a brand of shoes that gives you different widths to choose from as well.

Have Your Child Walk Around

Once your child is wearing a new pair of potential shoes, have them walk around in them for a few minutes. You probably have to stick to the inside of the store or the inside of your home in case they don’t work out. But it’s important that you can see how the shoe feels on your child when they’re in motion. 

Ask your child how the shoe feels and take a peek at whether or not the shoe slides off their foot at all. This would indicate that the shoe is too large, and you should go down a size.

Don’t Forget about the Arch

Inside the bottom of a pair of shoes, there is an insole that is designed to protect the foot and the shoe, but they generally also offer support for the arch of your foot. The center of an insole will curve up in order to support the underside of the foot. 

Arch support can go a long way towards keeping your child’s foot comfortable and supporting their foot while it grows normally.

Look at the Shape of the Shoe

You need to pick a specific shoe size that is relevant to the length of your foot, but you should also be looking at the overall shape of a potential shoe you’re thinking of buying for your child. Does your child have toes that spread out a bit when they’re walking? They may benefit from a pair of shoes that have a wider toe area. 

If your child has a narrow center portion of their foot, there are children’s shoes that curve inward to provide added support here. The shape of a shoe should resemble the shape of your child’s foot when you first compare the two of them.

How to measure your child’s feet for shoes

If you’ve decided to measure your child’s foot in preparation for a new pair of shoes, this section of our article is going to walk through how exactly you would do this. We do recommend having a professional measure your child for you to confirm accuracy. 

Detail hands measuring tape kids feet

Still, we understand that you may need to just complete the process on your own to shop online or shop at a store that doesn’t offer free measurements.

The easiest way to measure your child’s foot is to have them stand on a piece of paper placed on the floor. Use a pencil to trace around their feet as precisely as possible. 

Have them step away from the tracing, and you can use that outline for the measurements. This process works well if you have an energetic child that doesn’t want to stand still long enough for you to check and re-check their foot size.

Measure the outline from the middle of the heel all the way to the end of the longest toe on each of their feet (yes, you should do two separate tracings). 

You’ll want to incorporate a little bit of extra space into the measurement to allow for human error and to allow for growth. If you’re measuring for sandals, don’t go too much bigger. Large sandals pose a tripping hazard when your child’s toes aren’t covering the front of the shoe.

You may not know that your child’s foot will actually expand as the day goes on. Because of this, you’ll want to measure their foot later in the day, so you get the measurement done when their foot is at its biggest.

How often should you replace your kid’s shoes?

Each child is different when it comes to the frequency that you’ll need to replace their shoes. You may choose to replace shoes when your child starts to complain that they feel tight. They may still fit, but shoes can look pretty worn out quickly if you have an active child that’s playing outside a lot, playing sports, etc.

Little girl putting on shoes sports

It’s a good idea to replace your child’s shoes whenever you notice that it’s necessary. Allowing your child to wear shoes that are too right or are falling apart can impact how their foot is growing and the amount of support that their feet are getting when they’re in movement. 

There may be times when you feel like your child needs their shoes replaced every few months. This is usually due to growth spurts. However, this should even out at some point, and you’ll start to see shoes lasting a little longer as they get older.

If your child’s shoes look dirty but still seem to fit and their integrity is in place, you may want to read one of our other articles about how to clean shoes. You can quickly spruce up a pair to keep them going for a few more months.

If you have any other questions regarding GS shoe sizing for grade school children or you would like to find out more about measuring your child’s foot for a new pair of shoes, drop us a comment below. 

Let us know if you’ve had success with completing this process yourself. While a professional knows the proper way to measure your child’s foot for a new pair of shoes, it doesn’t take much practice to be able to do it yourself.

Also, do a little research when you’re shopping for new children’s shoes. You’ve probably never noticed before the different types of categories that are used to help you buy the right shoes regarding fit and style. 

Some labels may not be relevant to what you’re looking for, but becoming an educated shopper is always beneficial. You can end up saving a lot of money and finding some really great styles.

Please feel free to share this article with your family and friends that also have children. We come across a lot of people that have found it challenging to find the right shoes for their children. 

The information we’ve shared in this article can make a big difference in how easily you shop for shoes. Not to mention, you may have been buying the wrong shoes this entire time, and you could be keeping your child far more comfortable.

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