If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed shopping for kid’s shoes, we are here to help. We understand that although there is more selection available than ever before, it can be confusing to know which children’s shoe styles are best for growing feet and how to select a proper fit. So, before you simply buy for the most adorable pair, read on to understand why choosing the best kid’s shoes for your little boy or girl depends more on fit and function than on fashion.
Shoe shopping may not be your kid’s favourite activity (yet) but trust us— they will end up thanking you for making good decisions on their behalf. Whether you are looking for everyday school shoes or specialised athletic footwear, putting in the time and effort to get a good fit now is an overall investment in your child’s health and will ensure their feet develop correctly. Now that is something worth reading a blog post for!
Understand why fit and functionality are so important
Does your little one appear to be growing taller by the minute?The truth is that it is normal for kids to go through quite a few pairs of shoes. And when you consider all the other things you do to ensure your child’s health, choosing the proper footwear should not be overlooked.
A child’s foot can continue to grow until about age 18, and that’s why proper shoe fit and function are so vital to your kid’s foot health and development. In the short term, shoes that fit poorly can create foot pain for your little one. In addition to discomfort, calluses, corns, ingrown toenails or blisters, having ill-fitting shoes can make it difficult for them to move around energetically, participate in the activities they love, and burn off all that excess energy before bedtime.
However, the long term is where we see more serious issues develop. Poorly fitting shoes can contribute to lasting foot and toe deformities. If your child wears ill-fitting shoes throughout their developmental years, it can even lead to other long-term problems with posture or walking. Any podiatrist will be quick to tell you that many foot problems in adulthood begin with ill-fitting shoes or poor foot experiences during childhood.
Take note of the basics
So, let’s dive into how to select the perfect pair of shoes to avoid any complications for your child now or later in life. First, understand that how often you should replace their shoes depends on how active your child is and how fast their feet are growing. In addition to the school shoe shopping spree every fall, here are some helpful numbers to keep in mind:
- Children usually require new shoes every 3-6 months.
- Most early toddlers (under 16 months of age) grow more than one-half a foot size in 2 months.
- Toddlers from age 16-24 months grow an average of one-half a foot size every 3 months.
- Children 2-3 years old grow approximately one-half a foot size every 4 months.
Children over 3 years of age experience increases of one-half a foot size every 4-6 months.
Six children’s shoe shopping tips to guide you
1. Measure carefully, then add a bit
You might feel like you know your child as well as you know the back of your hand, and when it comes to clothes, you can probably pick the perfect fit just by eyeballing it. But please, do not do this when it comes to shoes! The staff at any shoe store will be happy to help you with a quick measurement and sizing so that the whole process is as quick and smooth as possible.
Remember—you don’t want your child’s shoes to fit quite as snuggly as the pair you’re selecting for yourself. Since we logically expect growth in children, the shoe should be 1-1.5 centimeters longer in front of the toes than the child's foot. This small “excess” still provides them with a close enough fit to be safe and comfortable but will ensure they don’t grow out of them immediately. And don’t forget that measurements should always be taken while standing.
2. Don’t neglect the heel or insole
Length is not the only measurement that matters. Kids are always running, jumping, and generally just asking a lot from their feet. For this reason, they need proper kids’ shoes that provide adequate heel support and a fit that will protect their foot and ankle from whatever the day’s adventures may bring. Look for a shoe with a heel component that is sufficiently long, stiff and tall.
Children have quite a lot of foot sweat, so it is also essential to select a pair of shoes with an insole made of absorbent material.
3. Keep things light and airy
Lighter is better when it comes to children’s footwear. You don’t want your little one feeling dragged down by heavy school shoes while they are trying to run around the schoolyard. The material of children's shoes should be breathable, soft, and as light as possible. Natural materials, such as leather and textiles, meet these characteristics well. In addition, they offer the benefits of being adaptable to the anatomical shape of the foot and able to absorb moisture.
4. Never underestimate the need for support
Lightweight doesn’t have to mean flimsy. Instead, you want to put your child in a shoe that will give them support and stability when walking. We recommend ankle boots for toddlers who might just be taking their first steps. For older children, you should also pick girls and boys schools shoes, leisure shoes, and athletic shoes that will help them feel supported and confident.
This means getting the width right. The width of the child's foot at the toe joints is crucial. If the shoes are too narrow, it would restrict blood circulation and deform the front of the foot. On the other hand, the foot will constantly be sliding around if the shoe is too wide. This can also cause problems.
5. Shop according to your child’s current stage development
Your child’s current development stage is important. Kids have different preferences and require unique features from their shoes depending on their age. One of Bata’s brands, Bubblegummers, have been designed to provide the corresponding benefits based on the development stage the child is currently in.
The line was conceived to help you make smart shoe decisions—from meeting the support needs of infants and toddlers through to grade-school and young teens who are on the go. All the shoes in this line have been crafted to support the healthy growth of happy children, supporting them through all kinds of play and fun.
Most important benefits for each development stage
- 9 months to 3 years:This is when children take their first steps,before learning to walk and run. Key shoe attributes are protection, support, and
- 3 to 6 years: During these year, children become more skilled at running, jumping, climbing, as well as more independent and eager to explore the world around them. Key shoe attributes are easy fit, flexibility and fun, engaging designs.
- 6 to 10 years:After mastering the basics, childrennow make gains in muscle strength and coordination, and develop basic motor skills, such as kicking, catching, and throwing. Key shoe attributes are flexibility, cushioning, lightweight, appropriate for sports and dynamic activities,and design details that reflect personal style.
6. Don’t leave the store without trying them on!
Hopefully, we have already made this clear—but we have to say once more how important it is for your child to try the shoes on and test them out before buying. Even with the right size, width, and material, it is possible that the shoe just won’t feel good on their foot. Encourage your child to walk around for a few minutes to check that nothing is rubbing or tugging unpleasantly. Confirm that they feel comfortable and confident wearing their new shoes. This way, you can feel better about your purchase, and they’ll be able to hit the ground running as soon as you leave the store!
Ready to take your little one shopping for their next pair of shoes? You can find your local Bata store or nearest retailer here.