If The Shoe Fits! Tips for Finding the Proper Fit at a Great Value
Did you know that podiatrists actually recommend that new walkers up to three years old should be walking barefoot as much as possible? Walking barefoot aids in helping children recognize new terrain, adjust their footing accordingly, and develop balance, movement, and posture! While barefoot is best, there are times when safety is in question and shoes are certainly a must. With the average child outgrowing their shoes by a half size every three to four months, it’s important that a child’s shoes not only fit properly, but are made to function just as they do — run, jump, slide, and tumble.
When shoe shopping for your child, keep three important factors in mind! Ask yourself: How does the shoe fit? Will the shoe hold value? Is this shoe appropriate for my child’s age?
How Does the Shoe Fit?
When shopping for new shoes for your growing child, a proper fit is an absolute must. A poor fitting can affect your child’s balance, gait, and posture, as well as their overall foot health, to include unhealthy toe nail growth, callouses, and even bunions. While shopping for shoes, it’s important to look at the following when it comes to fit:
- Length — There should be a half inch of the longest toe at the end of the shoe. There should also be enough room so that the toes can move.
- Width — Fit the widest part of the foot with the widest part of the shoe. A child’s foot is still developing, so they need room to grow naturally. Most children’s feet are widest across the toes.
- Depth — The shoe should allow enough room for natural foot movement. The toe of the shoe should not press down on your child’s toes. A round toe is also preferable.
When measuring your child’s foot, many shoe stores offer a measuring system, while some online stores offer a printable guide. Be sure to measure your child’s foot from the longest toe to the back of the heel. Always try on shoes with socks and if your child is in between sizes, size up to allow for growth.
Will the Shoe Hold Value?
Value is one of the most important factors when shopping for the right fit for your children’s feet. Let’s face it, it’s hard to continuously spend money on shoes every three to four months, when we as adults can wear the same pair for years. Children’s shoes can range from really cheap to fairly expensive depending on the brand, but how do we know that we are getting quality shoes for a great value that won’t harm our child’s feet? When shopping for shoes, despite the brand or cost, you should consider the materials in which the shoe is made, as well as offering great traction, flexibility, and cushioning. Shoe materials such as leather, canvas, and some mesh provide the right amount of flexibility and support while also allowing the foot to breathe (which is crucial as children’s feet sweat a great deal!). Bulky shoes or shoes made with hard plastic or rubber materials make it difficult for the foot to move properly and can aid greatly in falls. While leather, canvas, and some mesh seem to be more on the expensive side, well made shoes don’t have to be costly. Keeping in mind the three important characteristics of a great shoe — traction, flexibility, and cushioning — should help you find a great shoe for a great price. When shopping, be sure to go to a store that offers a wide range of options to try on. In terms of value and affordability, we especially like Payless ShoeSource for their variety of options, from dress shoes to boots, athletic sneakers, and casual everyday wear. Offering a great deal of various brands ensures that you will find a shoe that fits the three important characteristics while also at a great value. Payless, which has been an American go-to for decades, knows feet and style, providing moms with the comfort of knowing that they are purchasing quality shoes without spending big bucks.
Is This Shoe appropriate for My Child’s Age?
The last most important question to ask yourself while shopping for your child’s shoes at a great value is “what does my child do on the regular?” Babies, who have no real need for shoes, should wear soft sole shoes that form to the infant’s foot. The little infant booties featured above from Payless offer a soft sole with a little bit of shine, a cozy interior for little feet and even velcro straps on the side for easy on and off. If your child is just learning to walk, a thin, flat, flexible shoe is necessary to allow for natural movement of the foot. For your toddler or older child that is very active, great traction is important to help stave off tumbles. While fashion is all part of the fun of shoe shopping, it is important to keep in mind that function should come first. Shoes with little straps or no back will only impede new walkers and young children who never seem to slow down.
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Photo credits: Stephanie
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