The little-known way to get 20% off shoe prices – but only if your feet are smaller than average

IF you’re one of the millions of women who has smaller-than-average feet then you could save 20 per cent off footwear.

This is because children’s children’s footwear is exempt from VAT. The little-known tax quirk means that shoppers with petite feet can buy shoes for a fraction of the adult size price.

We found examples of almost-identical shoes being sold by big brands but at much cheaper prices…as long as you look in the kids section

We found examples of almost-identical shoes being sold by big brands but at much cheaper prices…as long as you look in the kids section

VAT is not paid on footwear – including boots, shoes, sandals and slippers – designed for young people up to and including size six-and-a-half for boys and size three for girls, according to rules set by HMRC.

But bigger sizes – usually up to a ladies five-and-a-half – are also VAT-free as long as they meet design requirements.

This essentially comes down to heel height – as long as the depth of the sole doesn’t exceed more than four centimetres, then VAT is not applied.

The rules are complex but women who wear under a size six in shoes could make big savings.



Women’s feet are getting bigger – growing, on average, two shoe sizes since the 1970s, according to the College of Podiatry.

Today, the average woman wears a size six versus a size four – but that doesn’t mean you must pay over the odds for your footwear.

In three big name brand examples found by The Sun Online the savings can often outstrip the 20 per cent discount.

For example, if you were in the market for a pair of Nike trainers and you bought a women’s size 5 pair of Nike Free Runfrom JD Sports, it would cost you £90.

These Adidas Original Gazelle II shoes are from the junior range and cost £45

These Adidas Original Gazelle II shoes are from the junior range and cost £45

They are almost identical to the adult version – which costs £75

They are almost identical to the adult version – which costs £75

While a pair from the junior range – in the same style/colour – will cost you just £50 at the same store.

That’s a £40 discount – for the same pair of running shoes.

While buying a pair of adidas Originals Gazelle II Junior in size 5 at the sports retailer will cost you just £45, compared to forking out £75 for the adult version in the same size – a saving of £30.

These adult shoes from Toms cost £34.99

These adult shoes from Toms cost £34.99

While the children’s version of the shoes from Toms cost £27.99

While the children’s version of the shoes from Toms cost £27.99

Shoppers after a pair of pink TOMS in size 5, will pay £34.99 for the women’s version on the brand’s website, but just £27.99 in the children’s section – a saving of £7.

What’s more, you can even save on shoe shopping if you have bigger feet – many children’s shoe departments at retailers such as Debenhams, John Lewis and Marks Spencer stock up to size 7.

These Nike trainers are made for kids and cost £50

These Nike trainers are made for kids and cost £50

While the women’s version from Nike costs £90

While the women’s version from Nike costs £90

While these shoes are not exempt from VAT due to the size, you can still bag a bargain as they are almost identical to the adult version but with a much smaller price tag.

“On average, we spend £1,000 a year on clothes and accessories — including £200 on VAT alone. One in ten of us spends almost £5,000 a year — which means £1,000 in VAT,” says Jasmine Birtles, founder of MoneyMagpie.com.

“So if you can fit into ‘child’s’ sizes, you should be quids in.”

Holly Willoughby had to borrow Rochelle Humes’ shoes after forgetting

“There are some great styles to choose from too. Right now, for example, Debenham’s has some six 6 Jasper Conran Leather boots for just £35 – less than half of what you might pay for the adult versions,” she says.

“Of course it doesn’t suit – or fit – everyone, but if you are a shoe size 6 or less, there’s a lot to choose from.”


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