Many people choose to purchase a leather bottomed shoe or foot covering for babies who are crawling or cruising; when a child is able to take a few steps on their own, it's time for a first walking shoe.
What should I look for in a first walking shoe?
First walking shoes should be soft, flexible, and designed to move with a child's foot. Flexible rubber-soled shoes protect the feet, allowing children to feel the ground, gripping and balancing with increased stability. This helps them develop their own natural stance and gait. It's important to avoid any shoe that is inflexible. Quality materials like leather, canvas, and mesh are durable, breathable and flexible; they will stretch and soften with wear.
Can I pass down shoes to a smaller child?
This is not recommended, because all feet are shaped differently, and each child walks with a different gait. If they walk in a shoe that has been reshaped by another child's foot, the integrity of the structure is altered and it can impair their walking. This can hurt their feet, legs, and back. We know that shoes are costly, and when children are in their earliest stages of life, they often out grow a shoe before wearing it out. If you wish to pass down a shoe, always check for these few signs, and do not use it if one or more is present:
Feel the insole; if there is an indented footprint, do not reuse the shoes.
Look at the bottom of the sole; if the traction is smooth and worn down instead of grooved, do not reuse the shoes. If one side of the heel is worn to a slant - instead of straight across - do not reuse the shoes.
Examine the sides of the shoe; if it seems stretched wide or the material is flimsy instead of firm, do not reuse the shoes.
How long should a pair of shoes fit my child?
Growth patterns vary by age and individual child. Here's a general guide, by age, for how long a shoe fit with proper growing room should last:
10 months - 3 years: 3 to 4 months
4 - 5 years: 4 to 5 months
5 years and above: 5 to 6 months
We are always happy to do a free fit check for you; if there is still room to grow, we'll say so!
How often should I have my child's feet measured?
Since children's feet change rapidly, it's important to have them measured often. We recommend measuring every 3 to 4 months until age 5, and every 4 to 5 months above age five.
How important is arch support for children?
Arch support for children should be different than arch support for adults. Children do not start to develop arches until after age 3. In the early walking phases many children have a "fat pad" in the arch of the foot, which serves as a natural arch support. For this phase of development many shoe companies do not include additional arch support, as it is not necessary. After the age of 3, quality children's shoes will include: some type of arch support, a well defined heel counter, a well structured base, flexibility, and durability!
At any phase, if you have concerns about your child's foot development, we recommend having a conversation with your pediatrician. This includes issues like pronation (rolling in), toeing in, flat feet, walking on tiptoe, and any complaints of foot or leg pain.
Why is measuring and fitting important?
It is important to get measured because children's feet change rapidly, and because not every shoe fits every child's foot! As professional shoe fitters, we take into account not only the length and width of the foot, but also the girth, or volume, of the foot. We are knowledgeable about what brands, or styles within a brand, will fit each foot comfortably. It's important to find a shoe that feels great and makes your feet happy! Shoes that are too small can hinder foot growth, cause blisters or ingrown toenails, and lead to a myriad of foot problems in adult life. Shoes that are too big can cause blisters or tripping, and are not supportive. We are experienced in fitting properly for both a healthy, supportive fit and growing room.