Five things to keep in mind when buying children’s shoes

Buying shoes for children requires a thoughtful approach, considering their rapidly growing feet, activity levels, and the importance of comfort and safety. Here are five essential things to keep in mind when purchasing shoes for kids:

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1. Accurate Sizing and Fit

Children’s feet grow quickly, so it’s crucial to measure their feet regularly, ideally every 2-3 months for toddlers and preschoolers, and every 4-6 months for school-aged children. Always have their feet measured professionally, as sizing can vary across brands. When trying on shoes, ensure there’s about a thumb’s width of space between the child’s longest toe and the end of the shoe to accommodate growth and prevent toe crowding. The shoes should be snug but not tight, with enough room for the foot to move naturally without slipping.

2. Flexibility and Support

Children’s shoes should be flexible to allow natural foot movement and development. Bend the shoe to check its flexibility; it should easily flex at the ball of the foot where the foot naturally bends during walking or running. At the same time, ensure the shoe provides adequate support, particularly around the heel and arch areas, to promote proper foot alignment and minimize the risk of injuries.

3. Durability and Quality Materials

Kids put their shoes through a lot, from running and jumping to climbing and playing. Therefore, investing in durable, high-quality shoes made from breathable materials like leather, canvas, or mesh is important. Look for sturdy soles that can withstand wear and tear, and avoid plastic or other non-breathable materials that can cause sweating and discomfort. Also, check for reinforced toes and double-stitching for added toughness.

4. Activity-Specific Shoes

Different activities call for different types of shoes. For example, athletic shoes should provide ample cushioning and shock absorption for running and jumping, while school shoes need to be more formal yet still comfortable for all-day wear. Sandals for summer should have closed toes for protection and secure straps to keep them in place. Always consider the primary use of the shoes to ensure they meet the specific demands of the activity.

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5. Ease of Use and Safety Features

For younger children, look for shoes with easy-to-use closures like Velcro straps instead of laces, which can be challenging to tie and may become a tripping hazard. Ensure there are no sharp edges or protruding parts inside the shoe that could cause blisters or irritation. Reflective detailing is also a valuable safety feature for outdoor activities, especially during low-light conditions, enhancing visibility for added safety.

Additional Tips:

Try Shoes On Late Afternoon: Feet tend to swell throughout the day, so shopping later in the afternoon ensures the best fit.

Wear the Right Socks: Have your child try on shoes with the socks they’ll typically wear to get an accurate fit.

Involve Your Child: Allowing children to participate in the selection process can increase their excitement about wearing the new shoes, ensuring they’ll actually want to use them.

Check for Return Policies: Since children’s feet grow quickly, understanding the store’s return or exchange policy is crucial in case the shoes don’t fit after a few wears.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can ensure that your child’s shoes not only look great but also contribute positively to their foot health, comfort, and overall safety during their active childhood years.