When it comes to baby shoes there are lots of great option, from Baby Mocks to loafers and baby sneakers, there is something for every taste. Despite this, shoe shopping can still be quite a pain for most parents. There are many reasons for this -kids feet grow very fast, fit can be hard to find etc. There are loads of information on the internet that provide an insight into how best to buy shoes for kids and what to look out for. IN the article, I will attempt to summarize the basics about kids, shoes, kids feet and what you should look out for when shoe shopping for kids.
The Components/Characteristics of a Child’s Shoe
When you understand the anatomy of kids shoes, you are able to understand what to look out for when buying shoes for your kids and this means you are more likely to choose the right shoe type and the right size. The characteristics vary from shoe to shoe as not every shoe has every part, but these are the basics and most common
The Toe Box:
The toe box of the shoe is as its name implies, the area where the kid’s toe fits into in a shoe. The toe box should provide enough space and wiggle room for the toes as this will aid the growth and development of the kids’ feet.
The insole is the added padding area that is inserted at the bottom of the show. It’s best if the insole of the shoe is well padded and has antibacterial properties that help with odor control. Some shoe brands offer custom filled insoles which provide additional support and can help improve a child’s balance their posture as they learn to walk and stand.
The lining is the inside covering of the shoe. The shoe lining should be made of a material that allows the feet to breathe and also does not cause foot odor.
The sole of the shoe is very important as it provides balance to the kid. The sole should be slip resistant and flexible.
Many people mistake the sole for the heel and the term is often used interchangeably but they are different. The heel of the shoe is the bottom outer layer. The heel of the shoe should provide shock absorption and should also not be slippery.
Important Factors When Choosing Shoes for Kids
The Kids Age
The age of the kid is very important when it comes to choosing the type of shoe to get. The shoe requirements for infants, toddlers, and small children are very different. They each call for different types of shoes and materials necessary to ensure healthy feet growth and development.
Newborns and Infants:
For newborns and babies, they do not necessarily need to wear shoes. It’s best to keep their feet bare or in socks. And if they have to wear a shoe for say special occasion, it shouldn’t be one for long. The babies feet at this stage is very delicate and so are the bones so any hard shoe could alter the natural course of leg growth.
At this age having the right kind of shoe is very import. As toddlers learn to stand, walk, and run the shoes they wear should be comfortable and should be built to support these activities. Their feet also growing and forming rapidly at this stage so it is important to always check that the shoe fits correctly everyday. I remember my nephew outgrowing a new pair of shoes in less than one week leaving everyone in awe at how rapidly baby feet grows and develops.
At this age, kids have become very used to running and walking in shoes but this does not mean that their legs have stopped growing and it does not mean that they have their balance figured out. If anything at this age they tend to fall and injure themselves as they have more confidence of their environment and start to do daring things like run faster and attempt to climb trees, jump off couches and like my brother, off roofs. Yikes! At this stage, shoes should offer great cushioning on the inside, be made out of breathable materials and ensure proper heel and ankle support for the child. Parents should check their child’s shoe size every six months to ensure proper fit and healthy foot growth.
Shopping Tips for Kids Shoes
- Go shoe shopping for kids shoes in the late afternoon. Feet swell during the day and especially in the afternoons so you want to make sure you get the right shoe size that accommodates your kids feet when it is at its biggest size.
- If you are not sure of what you are doing, go to specialized shoe stores that can give you proper advice on what to get and even take your kids feet measurement so you know their correct size
- Try not to buy shoes that are very expensive as your kids will outgrow the shoes in no time and it might end up being a waste.
- Look for shoes made from breathable materials, such such as baby mocks, canvas or leather shoes. In addition to being more durable, they will help to keep the child’s foot cooler and dryer, helping to prevent blisters, discomfort, and smelly shoes.
- Don’t buy shoes that are too tight or too loose. When shoes are too big or too tight it could cause problems and might alter the developmental process of the kids feet.
- Make sure the shoes are comfortable from the get go. Do not get shoes that are difficult to stand or walk in.
- Never buy shoes with high heels for kids
- Children’s shoes should have laces, velcro or some other fastening system. As a general rule, avoid backless or slip-on shoes for kids. You can get flip flops for some occasion but it is better to get sandals made of rubber that can be worn to the pool or beach but also are secured on the kid’s feet.