We all know that growing feet often require new shoes. In fact, many children outgrow shoes before wearing them out! But did you know that there are certain things to look for in a child's shoe, and a right way to size them? Well there are!
- First, you need to keep activity in mind when purchasing shoes for your children. Since they will most likely spend a good deal of time doing physical activity of some kind or another (playing, gym classes, sports, etc) the best over-all shoe for your child is a tennis shoe. We recommend shoes that fasten securely. Laces are the best way to ensure this, but Velcro which fastens securely is an acceptable replacement in children who have not mastered this skill yet. Buying dress shoes for your children is fine, but keep in mind that when they are done with their more formal activity, they should change back into their tennis shoes which offer better support and cushioning for the feet. Your children may enjoy wearing sandals in nice weather. Although this is acceptable for short periods of time, remember that sandals do not offer the support or protection of tennis shoes either.
- Second, keep the condition of your children's shoes in mind as well. Worn out shoes do not offer enough support or protection to your children's feet and should be replaced. Broken laces should be replaced when the shoes are in good condition. You should also replace any shoes that are too small for your child. As a general rule, your child should have adequate width to accommodate their foot without experiencing any squeezing or tightness, and they should have about an inch of room between their toes and the shoe. When purchasing shoes for your child, keep the "1,2,3 Test" in mind.
- The "1,2,3 Test" is as follows. 1. Press on both sides of the back of the shoe's heel. Make sure that it does not collapse when pushed on. Shoes or footwear should never be handed down. 2. Check toe flexibility. The shoe should bend with your child's toes, but should not be too stiff or bend too much in the toe box area. 3. Grab the shoe by the front and back and twist gently. A foot-friendly shoe should never twist easily in the middle.
- Finally, you should also have your child try on any pair of shoes before purchasing them. If you intend to buy shoes offline, be sure to return them if they do not fit correctly. It may also be a good idea to try on that style of shoe in a store before buying it online. Always try on shoes with the type of socks (or tights, etc) you intend to wear with the shoes.
Remember that having your child go with you to purchase shoes not only ensures the correct fit but it is also a good opportunity to teach them how to size their own shoes and will help them develop healthy shoe purchasing habits for the future.