Once your toddler is walking confidently, it’s time to buy her first pair of proper shoes. Although your toddler has her full count of 26 bones, those little toes are not yet fully formed, so it pays to heed a few vital pointers when buying shoes in order to get the right size and encourage healthy growth.
As well as checking the length of the foot, also measure the width, which is a combination of the girth (side to side) and height (from toe to heel). You’re looking for a snug but comfortable fit with flexibility. The perfect fit also means leaving room for growth without being too big. Look for shoes that are designed with growth room built in, which is generally standard with most children’s shoe specialists.
When trying on shoes, ensure your child is evenly balanced, as standing with more weight on one foot than the other can affect the measurements. Youngsters also tend to scrunch their toes during fittings, so help them relax before placing the shoe on their foot – a quick, reassuring foot rub may do the trick. And always put socks on for a fitting. Not only is it more hygienic, but the thickness of the sock is also important – too thick and the shoe will be end up being too big, too thin and her feet will be constricted. To ensure the fit, check the back, heel grip, ankle, instep and arch, then encourage your child to take a walkabout. This allows her to get a feel for the shoes, and gives you a chance to observe how confidently she walks in them.
If this all seems a lot to remember, let an expert do it for you by visiting a specialist shoe fitter.
This article previously appeared in Junior magazine as a print article