How to Get the Perfect Kids Shoes for Back to School
Can we talk about kids shoes? It’s almost time for school again, parents. Yes, you’ve made it through the long summer. And now it’s time to get the kids back into the classroom. Which means it’s also time to get them some new shoes. Most likely, the summer fun wore out their current pairs. Or else all that sunshine helped them outgrow the previous pair.
We know kids’ shoes can be expensive. Especially because you have to replace so often. But we also know how the wrong shoes can hurt their growing feet. And, we’re always here to help when things go wrong. As Cassia G. shared in a recent Facebook review, “We are so thankful for a doctor who partnered with us to help my daughter keep doing what she loves! Highly recommend!”
5 Tips for Buying the Right Shoes for Kids
Just remember, kids want shoes that look cool. But what they need is shoes that will let them walk, run and play…without pain! If you follow these kids’ shoe shopping tips, you can pick a pair that does all those jobs!
Shop in person, with your child.
We know online shopping is more convenient. But you just can’t get a proper fit that way. And once your child sees new shoes in your home, he or she will want to keep them. And may not admit that they don’t fit well. To avoid these issues, go to a store. Get help from an experienced sales person, who can accurately measure both your child’s feet. (Pro tip: if one foot is larger than the other, size the shoes to that foot.)
Once you’re done measuring, try on several pairs—different brands fit differently. You’ll know the shoes fit if there’s about a thumb’s width of space between the end of the shoe and the tip of your child’s big toe. But shoe size is just the beginning. So keep cycling through the rest of these tips. Like…
Shop later in the day.
Like adults, kids’ feet get bigger throughout the day. Running, jumping and playing puts pressure on their feet. And that can lead to mild swelling. Since kids’ feet do this regularly, you should look for shoes that fit at the later part of the day. Because doing so means the shoes won’t start to hurt in the future. Even after a full day of school and extracurricular activities.
Know the must-have shoe features.
Supportive kids’ shoes should be stiff around the back of the heel. They should have a bit of flexibility on top of the toes. And they should be rigid in the midsole, but bend along with your kids’ feet…at the ball of their foot. Just behind the toes, but never under the arch. But keep in mind, while you want a little bend behind the kids’ toes, you shouldn’t be able to bend the shoes in the middle, or from side to side.
Demand instant comfort.
Your kids’ feet should feel good in their shoes right away. Little known fact: that “breaking in” period is a myth. Shoes that fit properly never hurt. If you buy shoes that take time to get comfortable, you’re putting kids’ at risk for blisters, corns and calluses.
Always choose new kids’ shoes.
It sure is tempting to pass shoes down between siblings. Especially if your oldest barely wore a pair. But there’s a real danger in sharing shoes. This is true within families, and even more concerning if you shop for shoes in second-hand stores.
You see, even if a shoe looks like it’s in great shape, supportive inner materials can deteriorate. With just a few wearings. Plus, shoes mold to the feet of the first child who wears them. And that means second owners won’t get a proper fit…ever.
Finally, sharing shoes means sharing foot conditions. So, if your first child had a foot fungus or wart, and the shoes were never properly cleaned, your second child could develop the same problem. Simply from wearing hand-me-down shoes! And that’s not something you want to deal with…especially not twice.
3 Features All Kids’ Shoes Must Have
Now that you know how to shop for kids’ shoes, here are the three key features to look for in every pair you allow them to try. First, make sure the shoes have straps or laces. Slip-ons are a problem since they never give a secure fit, and that makes children’s feet grip to keep their kicks in place. Next, make sure that the shoes are wider at the toes than at the heel, as children’s feet are widest at the toes. Finally, look for shoes that don’t bend easily, as that’s a sign they’ll offer firm support to your child during running, climbing and getting into everything!
We hope you found this back-to-school shoe-shopping guide helpful. And we hope you remember, we’re here for all your children’s podiatric needs. As Evan R. shared after his visit this year, we are the “Ideal practice if you have young children. I have a child less than 10 years of age. Despite his fear and apprehension about getting his in-grown toe nails removed the physician was able to keep him informed and calm during the procedure. He told him step by step what was going to happen.”
Our goal, with patients of any age, is to make sure they are comfortable and informed. It’s why we share regular patient education updates. And it’s why we invite you to schedule an in-person appointment at the first sign of your child’s foot pain.