Shopping with children is always an adventure! That goes double for shoe shopping. Have you ever tried to figure out all those kids shoe size charts? It seems like every brand or store has a different one!
When you consider the full range of shoe choices available, the task can seem downright daunting.
For many parents, the pressure can be overwhelming. Is this sole going to wear out? Will this fabric stain or rip? Will my child want to wear these? When will my child grow out of these?
Fear not: Twin Cities Kids Club is here, and we have a few tips and tricks to help! Follow these few simple guidelines. You can be sure that your child is putting his or her best foot forward!
Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for new shoes:
1. Have Fun
Children are incredibly perceptive. They pick up on the smallest cues. If you are stressed, chances are your child will be stressed too.
Try to remember that spending time together, no matter what you are doing, should be fun! Just relax and enjoy the quality time together. The task will seem less of a chore and more of a joy!
2. Measure Frequently
Your child’s feet change with age. Until the age of 6, your child’s feet can grow up to 1 mm per month! Shoe and sock sizes may grow every few months as a child’s feet grow. Be sure to have the size checked at a minimum of every six months.
Here are a couple of things to remember to get the most extended life out of that new pair:
- Feet are seldom precisely the same size, and one can often be up to a half size larger. Know which of your child’s feet are larger. Use that one when trying on and purchasing shoes.
- The new shoe should be 12-17 mm longer than the foot. If you are having trouble measuring, try taking the insole out of the shoe. Have your child stand on it and check the extra length that way.
3. Buy Shoes With Your Child’s Needs In Mind
News Flash: every child is different. No one knows your child as you do.
If your child doesn’t know how to tie his or her shoe yet, go laceless! Look for slip-on or Velcro mock-laced shoes. Don’t buy shoes with laces until he or she learns.
If your child is rough on his or her shoes, take that into account. Buy quality brands made from materials that can stand up to the strain. Don’t buy your child a pair of shoes that you know won’t last just because they are cute. You will regret it!
4. Take Your Child Shoe Shopping With You!
Your best bet for the best fit is having your child with you when purchasing shoes. Have him or her help you pick out a few pairs and try all of them on. Just keep in mind all of the tips, as mentioned above.
Include your child in the process. You will teach him or her the essential foot habits that he or she will remember down the road. Plus, if he or she has helped pick out the perfect pair, the likelihood is higher that he or she will wear them without a fight!
5. Find a store that specializes in shoes for kids
It never hurts to get help from an expert. Employees at a children’s shoe store will have experience with kids feet and shoes. They will be able to help you find the best fit for your child.
Children’s shoe stores should also have posted a kid’s shoe size charts. Don’t be afraid to use them, that’s why they are there! The information you find there can be beneficial.
6. Purchase Quality Footwear
Some of the features you should expect in high-quality footwear:
- Breathability- Children’s feet sweat a lot. Make sure you are buying shoes made from breathable material that allows circulation for your child’s feet. Plastic and some other man-made materials can trap sweat. This wetness can lead to a breeding ground for fungus or bacteria. Keep your kid’s feet healthy and dry!
- Durability- Rubber soles are incredibly durable. Look for thick soles as they provide better cushioning and shock absorption for kids on the go. Avoid flat, skimpy soles as they provide little to no support and can lead to injuries down the line. Remember, the bottoms may wear out before your child outgrows the shoes so check regularly!
- Flexibility- Shoes that are too stiff can lead to discomfort and possible injury. Inspect new shoes before purchase. They should be firm but not too thick and slightly bendy. Avoid shoes that are either too stiff or too flexible.
7. Feet Swell!
Our feet swell throughout the day from the pressure of standing and walking. Try to take your child shoe shopping later in the afternoon to allow for that.
Shopping late in the day can be a bother when you have small children. With proper planning, you should be able to find a time that works for you and your child’s schedule. Make an evening of it; go out for dinner and shoe shopping!
8. Avoid Buying Shoes That Need A “Breaking-In Period.”
If your child doesn’t want to wear his or her new shoes in the store, he or she won’t want to wear them at home. Don’t purchase a pair of shoes that is not comfortable at first try.
Remember to bring socks or tights if your child will be wearing them with his or her new shoes.
Looks aren’t everything, but make sure your child likes his or her new shoes. It will go a long way to ensure a more carefree time leaving the house when you are rushing out the door or crunched for time.
Don’t forget: like adults, children have their own individual style. It is your privilege as a parent to help them find and embrace it!
Take these tips with you, and your next shoe shopping spree with your child will be a breeze!