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What Does GS Mean in Shoes? – The Sizing Guide

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

what does gs mean in shoes

When buying new shoes online or in the physical store, GS is one of the several terms from the so-called “shoe vocabulary” used to label shoes these days. But what does GS mean in shoes? GS stand for Grade School.

GS sizing is first coined by Nike to indicate shoes made to fit Grade School kids and is widely used in Nike and the Nike Air Jordan brand. Later on, the GS sizing was also used by other brands.

Does GS Only Fit Kids?


Although some people mistakenly think that what GS stand for in shoes is “girl size”, GS sizing is actually unisex.

When marked as GS meaning shoes are made to fit grade school kids or adolescents, GS is just one of the three categories of children’s shoe sizes: Toddler (TD), Pre-School (PS), and Grade School (GS).

The measurements used in a GS shoe size chart used by each brand can be different from one another.

  • The originator of the GS size range, Nike, listed 3.5Y as the smallest size and 7Y as the biggest size for children’s shoes.
  • Although technically classified as children’s shoes, GS shoes do not only fit kids. In the US/EU/UK shoe size chart used by Nike, the GS size and Men’s size have the same sizing and the same measurement when it comes to length. The chart also shows the corresponding GS size to each adult’s size.

However, before heading to a shoe store to buy GS instead of your regular adult sneakers, you have to bear in mind that GS shoes do not have the same build and quality as adult shoes.

Here are the differences between GS size and adult size. Take note that this is only for Nike GS shoes/ Jordan GS shoes.

What to Know About GS Shoes


1. The inner-shoe dimensions

It’s true that GS sizing is equivalent to Men’s sizing in terms of length, but is it the only basis for choosing the right shoes?

Of course not!

Although similar in terms of foot length, adult size and GS size have different inner-shoe measurements and features.

  • GS size has a narrower and smaller insole width compared to its adult counterpart.
  • More so, some inner-shoe features, such as the arch height and instep size, are not realized in the GS sizes considering that a child’s feet tend to keep growing.

Thus, adults with wide or flat feet will not get a comfortable fit in the shoe’s footbed when wearing a GS size.

2. Materials used and overall quality

In Jordans and other Nike shoes, the GS-sized shoes are remodeled versions of the adult models to fit the so-called “older kids.”

Nonetheless, even if the GS size is basically the smaller version of the adult model in terms of visuals, the materials used are different.

  • Grade school sizes usually have thinner, lighter, and softer materials, such as a rubber outsole.
  • The cushioning is also lesser compared to adult sizes.
  • The difference in materials also affects the overall features of the shoes, such as the shock absorption and ankle/heel support, which are not really taken into consideration in GS shoes.

Thus, the quality of GS is somehow lower than that of adults.

3. Color Options

Although not made with high-quality materials and lacking some of the adult version’s great features, Jordan GS shoe size shoes have more color options.

The GS sizes have designs and colorways that appeal to children. On the other hand, the adult Jordan sneakers usually feature neutral colors in order to match with several outfits easily.

Moreover, this might be different for other shoe brands which use specific size charts to indicate gs shoe sizes. In this regard, it is still important to properly research about the brand, and to measure your feet to determine if GS size is right for you.

How to Properly Measure Your Feet

To make sure that your shoes fit, here are the steps in measuring your feet:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Paper

Step 1: On a flat surface, lay one foot on a piece of paper.

Step 2. Trace the outline of your foot using a pencil. You may ask for assistance with this step. Repeat the step with the other foot.

Step 3. Using your ruler or measuring tape, measure the distance between the tip of your big toe and the outer heel. The distance determines the foot’s length.

It is recommended to add ½ inch to the actual measurement as an allowance for the toe box room.

Step 4. To determine the foot width, measure the distance between the widest points of your forefoot.

Tip: Your feet are at their largest in the afternoon or end of the day. It is recommended to measure them at this period for a more accurate shoe fit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What does Y stand for in shoe size?

The Y in shoe size means “youth”. The youth shoe size range begins from 1Y to 7Y. This sizing applies to little and big kid shoes. On the other hand, the GS size range begins from 3.5Y to 7Y.

In this regard, if you were to ask, “is grade school size same as youth?” then the answer is no. Y is only used to differentiate kids’ shoes from adults’. Not all youth sizes are GS sizes, but all GS sizes fall under the youth category.

Can Adults Put on GS Shoe sizes?

Yes, adults can put on GS shoe sizes. If your foot size is smaller compared to the average foot size for adults, then GS shoe size might be perfect for you. If you are a woman, just subtract 1.5 from your actual size to determine its equivalent GS size.

Are GS Jordan shoes cheaper?

Yes. Aside from fitting small feet, GS-size shoes are a good option if you don’t play sports but want to get your hands on Jordan shoes or sneakers that will not break the bank.

Due to the materials used in their creation, GS sneakers are relatively cheaper compared to adult shoes.


The bottom line, GS stands for Grade School. However, answering the question, “what does GS mean in shoes?” revealed that GS size is not just a kid’s shoe size and is not limited only to fit a child’s foot. GS mean sneakers or shoes can also be worn by adults with smaller feet.

Different shoe brands measure GS shoe sizes differently, so you must measure your feet correctly, learn about the brand of your choice, and of course, try them on to avoid buying the wrong size for you.

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