Buying that first pair of shoes for your child is quite a landmark : it means he’s no longer a baby but a toddler.
Shoes aren’t needed until your toddler is walking properly as before this he will not only find it easier to be barefoot but the foot itself can spread.
Most of us buy shoes for toddlers on our own. We estimate the size needed and rarely exercise the same trial methods we use for ourselves. But it must be remembered that a toddler’s feet are softer than an adult’s, and a badly fitted shoe can damage the foot permanently.
The child can’t tell you that he has outgrown his old shoes and it this age the difference in sizes is marginal so the old shoe could get uncomfortable without you realizing.
- However tempting, don’t buy shoes without your child. Trying it on is essential for a good fit.
- Stay in the shop only if the staff shows experience in fitting young children. If they appear impatient or bored or indifferent – get out of the shop.
- Shop after a meal or a hearty snack. A hungry child is more likely to be uncooperative just as a hungry mother is more likely to be impatient.
- Similarly shop after a good nap. You definitely don’t want to shop with a tired and cranky child.
- Avoid crowded shops – the longer the wait the more your temper (and hers!) is going to be tried.
- Take along toys, books and other distractions.
- Bring along the same type and thickness of socks that will ordinarily be worn with the shoes. Try on the shoes with these.
- Try on both shoes on both feet – sometimes there may be significant differences between the fitting of the left and right feet.
- Shoes should always be fitted while your toddler is standing with her weight on both feet.
- When checking toe space make sure the toes aren’t curled – a common habit amongst small children.
- Check with fingertips the toes of the shoe, heel and sides. If there’s too much space its too wide, if you can’t feel a space, its too tight.
- Check the shoes in action.
- When you take off the shoes, there should be no red pressure marks.
- Don’t buy ahead. Extra large shoes can lead to irritation and blisters, cause unnecessary falls and interfere with walking.
Socks also should fit smoothly without constricting the foot. Socks that are too large will bunch up and cause irritation and blisters. Too small a sock can cramp the foot and hinder growth.
- Don’t pass down shoes – they will have molded to the feet of the original wearer and will be unsuitable for the next child.
Checklist for good shoes
- Are a good fit
- Can be easily worn and just as easily taken off.
- Are light weight.
- Have flexible soles – you should be able to bend the toe of the shoe about 40 degrees easily.
- Have non-slip rubber soles that are grooved. Smooth soled shoes can be roughed up by rubbing sandpaper on the soles or taping a couple of strips of marking tape across them to improve friction.
- Have adjustable fastenings
- Have square toes rather than pointed ones.
- Have breathable uppers of leather or canvas rather than plastic or imitation leather so as to minimise moisture buildup from perspiration.
- Have no heels.
- The back of the shoe should provide firm support and ideally should be padded for comfort.
- Has bright appealing colours and design.
- Reasonable priced