Finding a good pair of shoes that fit correctly is hard enough, but buying them for your kids can be a nightmare. Children are not the best at vocalising why shoes don’t fit correctly so you have to find out for yourself, but luckily we’ve got a few tips to make life easier for you dads.
Before you start
Before you head off down the shops, there are a few things to bear in mind; firstly, feet naturally swell during the day, so you’re better off doing shoe shopping in the afternoon or early evening as your child’s feet will be larger. Also, think about how tiresome it can be sitting in shops in your socks waiting for the assistant to come back with the pairs you want to try – it’s even more boring for young children. So look to shops which specialise in children’s shoes as the staff there will better versed in dealing with kids. You can of course avoid all that by shopping online – but make sure they have a good returns policy!
The importance of fit
When you’re buying shoes for children, the big temptation is to get them with plenty of extra room in so they can grow into them – and you don’t have to shell out for a new pair every month. But remember these are growing feet we’re talking about, and blisters and sore toes are not the only problems that can be caused by ill-fitting shoes. Shoes which are the wrong size or shape can actually lead to foot deformities as the child grows, while shoes which don’t offer the right support can result in the development of joint or posture problems; buying shoes for a child therefore requires plenty of thought, so use retailers which promote good fit – Vertbaudet, for example, has its own in-house podiatrist.
Making your choice
Obviously as children get older, the aesthetics of particular shoes start to become an issue and “I don’t like them” will become a more familiar refrain, but a more practical approach is perhaps best.
This video has some extremely useful step-by-step advice for getting the right fit in kids’ shoes, but here’s our basic six-step guide:
1 Once the shoes are on and fastened, stand your child up; the gap between the end of your child’s toes and the edge of the shoe should be about half an inch (just over a centimetre).
2 Press the sides of the shoe – the toes should not feel pressured and the little toe should be able to wiggle.
3 Gently push across the top of the toes to measure depth – there should be no rippling or creasing.
4 Feel around the top of the shoe – material should not be touching the ankle bone unless it is extremely well padded.
5 Lift one foot up and hold your child’s leg above the ankle; then pull on the heel of the shoe – it should not slip.
6 Lastly, get your child walking and make sure they do not slip at the back or gape as they walk along.
If you remember these simple tips, you should have a child with healthy happy feet – and make your shopping experience a lot more bearable!