Taking your kids to buy new shoes can be fun… or it can be so terribly painful. There’s kind of no in-between, right, moms? But, it has to be done. Kids seem to need new shoes as often as they need to breathe and thankfully, we have tips to help make it as easy and pain-free as possible.
10 Expert tips for buying kids shoes
1. Start at the bottom
Look for shoes with rubber soles. Thick rubber soles shoes give the best shock absorption and cushioning for children. Even if they look dressy, they feel like sneakers, which are better for running around!
2. Think twice about flats
Avoid the trendy, yet very thin, flat ballerina shoes and high heels for girls. Flats that are too thin do not offer any shock absorption, cushioning or arch support which are the best qualities in shoes. High heels change the bio-mechanics of how you walk, which can be bad news for a growing bones.
3. Ditch the hand-me-downs
As hard as it may be, do not pass down shoes. Worn out hand-me-downs can be dangerous because the wear patterns on shoes make shoes fit differently from person to person. Also, warts and fungus, which are prevalent in children, can be spread by sharing shoes.
4. Consider going lace-free
If your child can’t tie their own laces, look for Velcro mock-laced shoes. This is the best of both worlds — they can practice, yet still have the flexibility to quickly get themselves in and out. These are also often fully-adjustable and teachers also appreciate them for kids who are still learning to tie.
6. Take them with you
The best way to purchase new shoes for kids is to buy them at a store to allow the child to try them on. Make sure you bring a pair of the socks they will be wearing. Only shop online once you are very familiar with the way a brand fits.
7. Buy shoes that fit
It may seem silly, but buy shoes that fit! Parents are often tempted to buy shoes a bit larger so they last longer, but this can be dangerous. Blisters, contusions, abrasions, and nail trauma, among other issues, can happen from wearing shoes that don’t fit.
8. Size doesn’t matter
Use metal Brannock device that they keep in shoe stores only as a starting point. Shoes must be tried on regardless of what the device says your size is, especially with children. Remember that shoe companies cut their shoes differently, just like they do with jeans. Companies from Europe, traditionally are known to run smaller. Having the help of knowledgeable salesperson can make this process easier.
9. Ready to run
Avoid the idea of a “break in period.” Shoes should fit from the time they are tried on at the store. If the shoes aren’t comfortable and a good fit for the child when she tries them on in the store, they won’t fit better later. Additionally, breaking in shoes can cause blisters and pain.
10. If the shoe fits
If your child feet that are different sizes, buy for the larger foot! Also, remember that you should be buying shoes to accommodate the longest toe… but that’s not always the big toe.
These tips were provided by nationally-renowned podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab Member, Dr. Jackie Sutera.
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