Just bought DC's new shoes yesterday. Had them measured in Clarks (as a double check for size iyswim) and then took them to lovely little independent shoe shop. Youngest DC was measured as size 4.5G in Clarks. Measured same in independent shop BUT the shoes they found to fit him are actually a size 6... They said that as his feet are quite wide this style is the best fit and he needed a 6 as the 5 were not quite wide enough. They told me not to get too stressed about the actual size as it is better to go for best fit not be rigid on the size. Apparently the brand comes up small size wise anyway and having a bit of space at the front (about a thumb width) is fine and wont affect his comfort at all. He walked fine in them in the shop.
Does this sound ok? I am a bit about him wearing shoes a size and a half larger than he was measured but do tend to trust this shop more than Clarks in general (they have got it wrong more than once before for me!) Have got nowhere else to go for a second opinion so DH said to ask here!!
If it is a European brand. for example, it is quite standard to go up sizes to compensate for width. Different brands and styles vary in size. Unless there is a visible empty expanse at the toe which trips him then they should be fine. A good finger's width allowance for growth is standard.
I would always always use an independent shoe shop wherever possible.
Based on my experiences in them, the scenario you describe certainly isn't unusual.
Today, I took DS1 for Emergency Shoes (a long and ugly story) and, in a weak moment, went into Brantano. A young lad reluctantly measured his feet and pronounced them to be half a size smaller than they were when they were last measured 3 months ago .
Then I went into Clark's, where the customer service was abysmal (although I did finally come away with some shoes for him) and they didn't do half as many checks as in independent shops.
I hqve found that start rite shoes wear out much faster then clarks, which doesn't matter too much when child is very small but as they get older, they wear the same size for longer and the start rite shoes don't last the run with my two boys. I have found a good clarks where we get good service and if they don't have the right size I order them online, they deliver to the shop where the size is checked again.
Some brands are a bigger make then others. And it also depends on your budget; I can't afford a pair of shoes that is over 30 pounds, and I can get them at clarks.