When it comes to shoe sizes, many companies have tried hard to make finding the perfect fit as easy as possible. However, sometimes these efforts seem a little misguided since rather than make things easier, they actually make the situation more confusing.
The letters attached to some shoe sizes are a good example of this – so to help you work out what they all mean, in this post, we talk about what “GS” in shoe size means as well as discussing some other similar labels.
So what does “GS” mean?
We can start by giving a simple answer to our central question – in a nutshell, “GS” stands for “Grade School”. “GS” is an appellation some shoe manufacturers, most notably Nike, have taken to using to let you know the age group certain shoes are aimed at.
In theory, this means that if you have a child who is of grade school age, you know that you should be looking at shoes with “GS” next to the number that indicates the size.
There are also several other labels in use that tell you similar information, including the following:
- BC – “baby crib”, a shoe size suitable for the smallest of babies
- TD – “toddler”, shoes for younger children
- PS – “pre-school”, the shoe size for those of pre-school age
While “GS” is a general label for all grade school children, you may also see “GG” and “BG”, which mean “grade school girls” and “grade school boys” respectively.
Shoes with these labels are sized specifically according to the gender of children, although in practice, there is little difference between these labels and “GS”.
What size does “GS” correspond to?
Of course, within what is considered a “GS” size, there is a range of sizes – which is logical because children don’t all have the same sized feet! So what sizes are considered “GS”?
In US Sizes, “GS” shoes are the sizes from 3.5Y to 7Y, but again, here we have another letter – so what does “Y” mean?
“Y” in shoe size refers to youth shoes and is used to distinguish between these sizes, “C” sizes (for children) and regular adult sizes.
This means if your child is of grade school age, you should probably be looking at shoes in the 3.5Y-7Y range.
What’s the difference between “Y” shoes and adult shoes?
It has to be said that this system does seem a little more complicated than it needs to be, so what’s the difference between “Y” shoes and regular adult sizes?
In fact, a 7Y and an adult 7 is about the same, meaning there is a certain amount of overlap between adult shoes and “Y” shoes. Essentially, somebody who takes a size 7, whether a child or an adult, could fit comfortably in a size 7 or a 7Y. So what’s the difference?
In a word, price.
Shoes that are rated “Y” are generally less expensive, so an adult with smaller feet who can fit into “Y” shoes could potentially save some money by choosing the “Y” version of the same model because the price will often be lower.
How should you choose the right shoe size for your child?
Since shoe sizes are not completely standardized between different manufacturers – and because children’s feet are always growing anyway – you need to check your child’s foot size every time you buy new shoes.
The best method is to measure their feet, and most well-known brands then offer sizing charts to help you establish the correct size.
To do this, simply place a piece of paper against the wall and place your child’s foot on the paper with the heel touching the wall.
Take a pen or pencil and mark the point on the paper where your child’s toes are furthest from the wall and measure the length. You can then use this measurement to refer to the sizing guide provided by the shoe manufacturer to find the correct size for your child.
If possible, you should take the measurement in the evening rather than in the morning since our feet swell slightly throughout the day, so it’s best to measure feet when they are at their largest.
Alternatively, if you can go into a store to buy shoes, you can ask the sales assistant there to measure your child’s feet professionally.
Don’t be confused by the array of letters in shoe sizes
The important point to take away from all this is that although these letters may be confusing, once you know what they stand for, they can be used to help you find the correct size for your child.
If you see something like “TD”, “PS” or “GS” next to the shoe size – or even “C” or “Y” – this can tell you roughly which age group the shoe is aimed at, allowing you to save time when looking for suitable footwear for your kids.