Youth XL vs Adult Small (What’s the Difference?)

Have you ever wondered about the difference between Youth XL vs Adult Small shirts? If your child has outgrown the youth clothing range, you might be wondering whether a small adult shirt is the right swap to make.

There is plenty of data and sizing charts that contain measurements for Youth and Adult t-shirts, but aside from the proven industry documents, what is the actual difference between a Youth XL and Adult Small? Below we will discuss the key differences between youth and adult shirts.

If you know the exact measurements of the person, use our free Shirt Size Calculator at the bottom of the page!

Is there a difference between Youth XL and Adult Small?

Yes. While there is not much difference between a Youth XL size and an Adult Small, they are rarely identical. Most brands will make the Adult Small a little longer in the torso, as adults tend to be taller. This may vary between brands, and some will make the adult small shirt narrower, as well as longer.

kids wearing youth xl and adult small shirts

Understanding the transition between a youth size and an adult size is a very common question, and many people struggle when choosing. In this article, we’re going to look at how to handle the sizing of t-shirts.

What Is The Difference Between Youth XL And Adult Small Shirts?

The biggest difference between these two sizes is often that the adult small shirt will be narrower and longer. It is designed for a tall man, rather than a large teen, and this results in more height but less girth. The youth XL is often shorter and has a boxier fit. If you have a tall child, the adult small is often going to be the best choice.

youth xl vs adult small size chart

However, you should always look for size charts when choosing suitable shirts for kids that are between kids and adult sizes, as these will give you accurate measurements for both the youth shirts and adult shirts. This should help you determine whether the shirt will fit and if you should choose it.

Remember to consider what the fabric that the t-shirt has been made from and think about the amount of shrinkage that it might undergo when washed, too. Allow a little extra fabric to make sure the t-shirt will still fit after washing.

Youth Shirt Size Chart

This youth shirt size chart has some general measurements and can vary depending on the brand and style of the shirt. Use this only as an estimate! For the most accurate fit, it’s best to refer to the specific size chart provided by the clothing manufacturer.

Shirt Size Age Range Chest (inches) Length (inches)
Youth XS 4-5 years 26-28 19
Youth S 6-7 years 28-32 21
Youth M 8-9 years 32-36 23
Youth L 10-12 years 36-38 25
Youth XL 12-14 years 38-40 26

Also, keep in mind that the chest size measurement is different from the width of the shirt. The width of a shirt is the measurement of the edge-to-edge that is below the armpit of a shirt when laid down flat.

A is the length, B is the chest circumference all the way around.

The chest measurement is taken by wrapping a flexible tape measure around the widest part of the chest, which is typically just under the armpits and across the shoulder blades, all the way around.

If you ever see a youth shirt size chart that has only the width, simply divide your chest measurement by two. You can also do it the other way around, which will give you a rough estimate of the chest circumference of a shirt.

What Size is Youth XL Shirt?

A XL youth size shirt generally fits children who are about 12-14 years old. The chest measurement for a youth XL shirt usually falls within a range of 38 to 40 inches. A shirt in youth XL size typically has a length of approximately 26 inches.

What Size is Youth Large Shirt?

A youth large size shirt is typically suitable for children aged approximately 10-12 years old. The chest dimension for a shirt of this size is often between 36 and 38 inches. The usual length of a youth large tshirt size is around 25 inches.

What Size is Youth Medium Shirt?

A youth medium size generally fits children who are about 8-9 years old, which is the youth medium size age. The chest measurement for a youth medium shirt size typically falls within a range of 32 to 36 inches. A shirt in youth medium size typically has a length of approximately 23 inches.

What Size is Youth Small Shirt?

Youth small size typically corresponds to children aged around 6-7 years old. On average, the size of a youth small shirt is 28 to 32 inches in the chest area. The length of a youth small shirt size is typically around 21 inches.

What Size is a Youth XS Shirt?

A XS youth size shirt generally fits children who are approximately 4-5 years old. The chest measurement for a youth xs size shirt usually ranges from 26 to 28 inches. The typical length of a shirt in a youth XS size is about 19 inches.

How Can I Guarantee A Youth Shirt Will Fit?

youth throwing football

There are no ways to guarantee that a shirt will fit, but if you are buying online, your best option is to check the manufacturer’s sizing chart for both youth XL and adult small. Use a tape to measure your child and compare it with the sizing chart before purchasing.

If buying in the store, it’s always great to try on the shirt in-store or have a tailor measure your child to make sure you get the right fit.

Remember that too big tends to be better than too small, especially with a cotton t-shirt, which is usually designed for comfort. Smaller sizes are rarely better, so make sure that the garment you are buying fits in terms of both the girth and the length before you purchase it.

Shirt Size Calculator


The biggest difference between an Adult Small vs Youth XL is usually that adult shirts are longer and narrower, so the fit may not be quite right for a child who is used to wearing a Youth XL. Using sizing charts or visiting your local store may help you to determine this.