Tips on Buying Comfortable Children’s Footwear
Lets face it buying items for children can be challenging, that applies to clothes and other things just as much as it does for footwear. The reasons for this are numerous, but a few key ones are: the speed at which kids bodies change and grow — it’s simply hard to keep up sometimes. Additionally, kids can be a bit finicky, some are super easy to please others are kind of selective when it comes to what they wear (obviously applies more to older kids).
When it comes to buying shoes for kids you are faced with a challenge, how to get nice, high quality footwear for your child without hitting Payless Shoes every other week? Well, there isn’t really a solution to the fundamental problem of growth speed, but there are some helpful tips you can use.
There are always thrift shops, consignment stores or apps. But the truth is these are all kind of shots in the dark, and you run a decent risk of wasting time searching and coming up empty handed.
So we’ve done a bit of foot work (pardon the pun) for you and compiled a list of tips for buying children’s footwear. What you will do depends quite a bit on the age of your child, but these tips have a good broad application. Without further ado:
Tips On Buying Children Footwear
Make sure your child’s feet are properly measured — Whether you measure your child’s feet with the help of a sales associate in a store or DIY at home, make sure both feet are measured accurately. Its vital to check both feet as often times children has one foot that is bigger than the other. An obvious but important place to start.
Avoid the temptation to size up too aggressively — Don’t ever buy seriously over-large shoes. The reasons for this should be obvious — as they can lead to injuries, blisters and a variety of other problems. Different lace-up techniques can alter the fit slightly – so you can get away with going a little bit on the big side but be careful — if in doubt it can be worth checking with a shoe fitter.
Follow some sizing best practices — When fitting your child with a new pair of kicks, here are a few important points to remember:
- You should have a thumbs (your child’s) width (0.5-to-0.65 inches, 1.5 cm-to-2 cm) between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest protruding toe.
- The sole of the foot (widest part) should correspond with the widest part of the shoe comfortably.
- When laced up or velcro-ed down the foot should be firmly held in place at the heel.
- The sole should not not have enough freedom of motion to twist.
- The heel should be you have a firm, yet comfortable fit.
Check the arch/insole of the shoe — Kids have developing feet and need a bit of support. There should be some form of arch support– a contoured piece that goes underneath your child’s foot. This contoured slope of the arch should generally start at the base of your child’s biggest toe. This is especially important for children with flat feet.
Make sure to try the wiggle test — If you are not completely sure how well a pair of shoes fits your child, just check for the famous toe wiggle – you kid should be able to wiggle his/her toes around freely without and pain or bulges protruding from the side of the shoe. If a shoe cannot past the wiggle test keep looking.
Don’t choose a pair of shoes that needs to be broken in — Shoes should be comfortable from the start. Also, make sure to have your kid try on shoes with socks or tights, in other words in the conditions in which they’ll be worn. During back to school shopping it can be tempting to pull the trigger on the first pair that comes along, resist that urge — your child will thank you.
Buy quality shoes — Knowing that your child will likely quickly outgrow their shoes makes its tempting to buy the cheapest ones there are. However, If you have other kids or family members who have them hand me downs are a great way to reuse items — in this case quality counts. And that’s not to mention the host of ethical considerations that go along with buying cut rate items.
Buy shoes at the end of a day — Not in the morning, If you schedule allows it try to buy shoes later in the day. Do this for the simple reason that it’s best to go during late afternoon, as children’s feet often get a little more swollen (bigger) as the day goes on. This may seem insignificant but it can play a role in how well shoes fit.
Get growing pains checked out — Standard practice in the past was that children normally experience ‘growing pains’, and that reports of foot and leg pain should be ignored. Expert opinion has shifted since then and podiatrists now recommend parents get any foot or leg pain assessed. Obviously some common sense should be employed here.
Shop around — Almost goes without saying, but shop around — with the number of options available in children footwear today there are bound to be some good deals. Trying on shoes in store and then ordering online is a good tactic to save money as well.
Buying shoes for your child can be a bit of tricky game. After the age of about three children’s feet will typically grow about half a size every six months. Barring a serious growth spurt this means that shoes will generally last between nine months and a year.
Use some of the tips above, check out stores locally and great creative with apps. In the end your child will thank you, and if they don’t they probably should.