Shoe naming conventions can sometimes be tricky, especially when you see the release of a new set of footwear that seems to be named something completely different. Over the last few years, you might have seen more and more acronyms popping up, with GS being one of them. But what does GS mean in shoes, and is it something you need to worry about?
What is GS?
So, what does GS mean in shoes, specifically? There is nothing especially complicated about the acronym: GS means Grade School and refers to the average expected size range of a grade school child’s feet. To make it even more clear, they are grade-school-aged-children’s shoes.
This came along with a wave of different acronyms, such as TD (Toddler) and PS (Preschool), which brands have been using to try and keep footwear sizes obvious. This means that a TD (Toddler) shoe size is clearly for Toddlers, which makes the whole thing much easier when you are looking for kids’ shoes.
The Grade School acronym is mainly used by Nike as part of their Air Jordan line, although other companies have begun to pick up on it for their own shoe size charts.
What is GS (Grade School) Used For?
Let’s say you are looking for new Nike Air Jordan shoes. PS (Preschool) Nike Air Jordan shoes would be aimed at a preschool kid, while TD (Toddler) shoes would be for toddlers. This means that you can separate them from men’s and women’s shoes quite easily. For popular brand names that have a wide range of multiple size options (such as Nike Air Jordan shoes), this is very useful if you want to find a specific size.
How is GS Used?
GS is not a single size. GS is technically a separate size chart: for example, kids may need GS size 3.5 instead of GS size 6. This also does not take into account other factors like feet length, arch height, or just how different styles of shoe fit on boys’ or girls’ feet. Slightly different sizes may also look different, and not all shoes will be available in every size on the size chart.
Always measure your boys’ or girls’ feet before you take them to get new shoes since their size number on the chart could still fit poorly if their feet are longer or higher than normal.
Using GS Shoes at Another Age
A grade school shoe can still be useful to adults, specifically adults with a smaller foot size than average. Many men’s and women’s shoes can still be too big for people with specific shoe size requirements, often meaning that a kid’s shoe fits better than regular options. If they fit best, then there is nothing wrong with using girls’ or boys’ shoes even if you are an adult.
Nike Air Jordan GS Shoe Size
Since the Nike Air Jordan sneakers are the main source of the Grade School acronym, they are also the company that make this system of sizes clear. The Air Jordan line is owned by a brand that many people consider to be high-quality, and that means that the Air Jordan line is similarly high-quality, but you still need to decide if an Air Jordan is what you want.
On the Nike Air Jordan GS size chart, some of the sizes are followed with a Y, which stands for “years.” This means that said shoe size is meant for kids at that age: 7Y would mean “age 7”, for example. This shows you the expected age (in years) of the child that the shoe should fit.
Remember that genetics influences shoe size, so the shoe might fit kids who are one year older or one-year younger even better. It can sometimes even be more than one year of difference since the sizing is just based on averages.
The letter K stands for “kid,” which is just another way of phrasing the Y sizes. Depending on where you are, you may have to ask for one or the other since some stores and online sites use them interchangeably.
Keep in mind that this is not necessarily going to be the same for another brand. The Air Jordan line makes heavy use of these letters, but other popular shoe types and brand names might not. There probably will not be much overlap, but it is still important to know what you are dealing with.
OG is not a size, but many people think that it stands for something to do with shoe sizes. OG actually stands for “original,” referring to the original release of those shoes. In the case of the Nike Air Jordan line, this means that OG Nike Air Jordan sneakers have different colorways (colorways are the pattern and arrangement of colors on the sneaker). If you have those colors, you know the sneakers are original.
OG Nike Air Jordan shoes have different colorways to new Nike Air Jordan sneakers, even if they are the same sneaker line (or even the same sneaker model). Like many brands, Nike does this with the Air Jordan line to make some sneaker release days more significant.
Measuring for GS Shoes
Asking “what does GS mean in shoes” is only half the battle – now you need to measure them. Unlike adult shoes, most shoes for a boy will also fit girls (as well as the other way around), and a lot are unisex. The Nike Air Jordan was one of the first to use the GS system, and Nike Air Jordan sneakers are used by just as many girls as everybody else that owns them.
Measuring your Child’s Feet
If you need to find your child’s foot size for getting them a new shoe, including sneakers like the Nike Air Jordan that basically began the GS system, then you need to measure their feet.
When to Measure
Always do this at the start of the day, as soon as your child is available: later in the day, each foot can swell, which can throw off the size measurements and lead to you buying larger shoes than are necessary. This swelling can become slightly more annoying later in the day if they have been on their feet for most of the day, too, but they shrink back to normal overnight.
Of course, depending on the time they get up, this may not be at the start of the day. As long as you measure your child’s feet as soon as you are able to, and before they have had a lot of time to swell, then your results will be more accurate. Even if you only get close, it will not make much of a difference.
Remember that popular brands like the Nike Air Jordan are designed for an average size, but that does not mean that they do not share sizes. Sometimes, you can have a foot size between two other shoe size options, which means that your foot fits somewhere between the two. In this instance, choose whichever pair is largest: there is no guarantee that the smaller pair fits.
It is important to be aware of how different shoes take a while to break-in, as well. For example, Air Jordan sneakers are quite flexible and will usually stretch to suit your foot shape and size. However, other styles and types of shoe can take a lot more time to stretch and will try to keep their original shape, so you might find that it takes a while for them to become comfortable.
How to Measure
The easiest way to measure a child’s foot is to stand them against a wall, place their heel against it, and then use a regular ruler to measure the inside of the feet from the largest toe. You can use a brand-name sizing tool to speed up this process and make it more accurate, but in general, the ruler method should be enough to figure out their shoe size.
Keep in mind that one foot is usually larger than the other by a half-size. This means that you will want to measure both: the larger foot is often slightly longer and might even be more wide, and you should base your shoe purchases off the larger foot rather than, the smaller one. This stops you from buying a pair of shoes, only to find that one is too small.
If you are checking to see whether a pair of shoes fits after buying them, then it can help to get your child moving in them properly. This can make bad fits much more obvious, and even rolling their foot can show spots where it catches or rubs against their skin.
Choosing GS Shoes
Whether you are looking for shoes for your child or for your own small feet, brand names such as the Air Jordan shoes are a good place to start. However, there are still multiple styles of a brand or product, such as the Air Jordan, and the sizing options are something you have to consider as well.
The first thing to consider is always size. There is not much else to say here that has not already been covered.
Review posts are a good way to find out how a certain shoe holds up. For example, a recent 2021 review of the Air Jordan would give you a good understanding of how the Air Jordan stacks up to 2021 releases, which can be important if you want your child’s first shoe of this type to be the best.
The more recent this Air Jordan review, the more recent the opinions included, which can be great if you would prefer first-hand accounts of the pros and cons of the Air Jordan lines. Some review posts may also share links to Air Jordan products or other articles about the Air Jordan, which can help you understand
Review posts can also cover a brand name or certain product lines. A lot of sites have Air Jordan reviews that review the entire Air Jordan product lines, rather than one set of Jordan shoes. This is a good way to save time and get coverage on the Air Jordan shoes as a whole, rather than having to look at each Air Jordan variety individually.
Some shoes, especially popular names such as Air Jordan shoes, are not ones you will be able to find just anywhere. In terms of GS shoes, some Jordan-branded shoes will not be available as children’s shoes, and other Jordan types are not even being manufactured anymore.
While it is possible to find sites that share sources where you are able to get shoes such as these older Jordan designs, they are not necessarily going to be on the menu. The Jordan name is a very popular one, so whenever you see somebody share a link to old Jordan designs that are out of production, expect them to be snapped up quickly.
Finally, price. Some brands (again, including Air Jordan shoes) are just going to be more expensive in general. A lot of Jordan shoes are pricy compared to non-Jordan shoes because of the name attached to them, and that includes children’s shoes. You get increased quality to match, but it is all about what you can afford and what you are willing to pay.