Shopping for toddler shoes is a minefield for any parent, but shopping for toddler shoes can be a real balancing act: you need to make sure the shoe is comfortable, breathable, and supportive to aid healthy growth of the foot, but also you want the shoe to be robust enough to stand up to the demands of an inquisitive and active youngster!
As the mother of a young child and a specialist in shoe technology, I have put together a checklist of the most important factors to consider when shopping for children’s shoes.
Things to Consider When Buying Toddler Shoes
- Shoes must fit! – Be sure to take your child to have them professionally measured and then fitted. Before shopping for shoes, encourage your child to run around the store and warm up their feet as much as possible before measuring. This will cause their feet to expand so that fit and growth room can be more accurately assessed. If you’re shopping online, some of the best websites offer free advice as well as authoritative guides to measurements and fits if you want to avoid the hassle of the high street or the mall with your kids in tow.
- Support – The shoe or boot must offer good support to the foot, ankle and leg. At this stage of development, the entire body is growing at a tremendous rate. Wearing shoes that don’t support well now can lead to foot and back problems later in life.
- Comfort – Shoes must be comfortable and have soft upper materials and flexible soles that do not restrict foot movement or muscle development. Try and choose styles that have padded linings, particularly around the ankle, and cushioned inner soles.
- Breathable – Shoes made with leather uppers and linings are best for children’s hot, active feet, allowing cool air to enter and hot, humid air to escape. This produces the best possible environment for growing feet and reduces the risk of smelly shoes and bacterial infections. Shoes with textile linings are also fine for the foot, but I would try to avoid shoes made of synthetic uppers and linings, as they do not offer breathability and moisture cannot escape.
- Flexible – The sole should be quite flexible, especially for first walkers, as this will help the foot muscles to develop.
- adjustment – Toddler shoes should have enough strap adjustment for the shoe to sit securely on the foot. Make sure the straps are not too tight as this will restrict growth. Return Velcro closures are ideal for toddlers as putting shoes on and taking them off is so much easier and faster!
- Robust – As I mentioned in my introduction, toddler shoes need to be able to withstand heavy use. Look for styles that have sturdy soles with large “pads” on the front. Such outer protection not only gives the foot additional layers of defense, but also limits damage and scuffing to the shoe should a child use their toes as a brake while riding a scooter or bicycle.
- Fun! – In addition to the above, make sure your children’s shoes are fun and attractive! Too often, we put our kids in dull brown or black shoes. Instead, let them wear fun, colorful shoes and enjoy the fact that they are bright, active young kids!
- online shopping – This can take the hassle out of shopping as you skip the lines and kids are often not as patient as you are when it comes to hanging around crowded stores! If you decide to shop for shoes online, make sure the retailer you use gives you good advice and can recommend a quality brand that is best suited to your child’s feet. Always check your return policy and make sure it allows you to return your purchase for a replacement or refund in the event that the fit is not proper.