Kids' feet grow at a significant rate within roughly the first twelve years of their life. As parents, you're shopping for kids shoes for gym class or for school at least once more during the school year. It's hard shopping for your kids when their feet are growing so much during so little time, even if just a year. When shopping for kids' shoes it's important to remember that not all kids' feet grow at the same speed, so while it may be that you're buying your son two pairs of shoes a year, you're daughters feet may only need a new pair once a year. Regardless, you know it's time to go shopping for kids' shoes when their toes start pushing against the seams of the shoes.
You want to know what the best shoes for kids are, whether you're shopping for dress shoes or back-to-school casual shoes, but where do you start? Shoe styles change with every season, but there are a few overarching tips you should know before you buy shoes for your kids because they're cute. While shoes are meant to decorate your feet, comfort and protection are first and foremost in footwear.
Before you go shopping for kids' shoes, think of their age. Are you buying shoes for a baby, a toddler or for your kids who attend school every day, whether they're in grad school, middle school or high school? Depending on your child's age, there are specific measures you should take to protect their feet. Within their first year, newborns' shoe sizes grow multiple times, therefore it's suggested to hold off buying shoes for them until they start walking. Once they begin taking their first steps, it's recommended that you buy booties or loose socks so your baby's feet can develop the strength to stand without the aid of footwear. Shoes for toddlers should be wide enough to handle their soft, muscly feet. Have your little ones wear open-toe sandals for girls with a wide toebox to allow room for her toes to wiggle around.
As they get older, the more difficult it is when shopping for kids' shoes. Not only do kids' feet grow exponentially until they're about 12 years old, but many shoe styles are just miniature versions of adult shoes with extra cushioning, which can actually be harmful to the growth of children's feet. While it's beneficial for kids to roam around barefoot whenever possible, that may not be the case when they go to school or head to the park with friends.
Look for kids' shoes that provide adequate support for arches and ankles for proper posture. Athletic shoes should have proper cushioning and ventilation to circulate air as to prevent sweating. Children's shoes should be lightweight and as flexible as possible; they should be able to be comfortable enough that children's feet don't feel constricted. General rule of thumb is that there should be a finger's worth of space between the child's toe and the end of their shoes.
Once your child has maintained one foot size for a few years, it'll be much easier to know what to look for when buying kids' shoes. If you're not sure what your child's foot size is, be sure to use a Brannock device instead of sticking feet in shoes until they fit. The Brannock device will measure how long and, if applicable, wide your child's feet are for the best fit in kids' shoes. Styles may change for every season, but comfort and durability does not. Once you've found the best kids shoes that fit properly and don't constrict toes, you can focus on what's up-to-date in kids' footwear fashion. The second purpose of shoes is to decorate their feet, so kids should have fun with it.