We have all experienced it, either first hand or watched someone else go through it. The dreaded tantrum thrown by a child because they have been told ‘no’ at a store. I always feel awful for the parent in the situation because reasoning with a small child is impossible and nothing you say or do can stop the ensuing road show for everyone in the store. I blame marketers. I get that from their perspective it is genius. Packaging things with kids favorite characters or bright shiny colors. I get it. But, it mostly makes me want to cringe. I am guessing that many times parents give in to the marketers, their children, and by default, their better judgement.
One time (if not many others) to fight the urge to surrender to your adorable mini-me would be when purchasing shoes. I never really thought much about shoes before having a child. Honestly, the shoes I wear are terrible for my feet but I am a sucker for a pointy stiletto. I’m like a hoarder on crack. I can’t stay away from them; I spend way too much on them and many times I don’t even wear them because I certainly don’t want to ruin them. That is a whole other story. But children need to learn to walk in the shoes that we buy them, especially before age six. I never really thought there was any harm in buying the shoes with the characters, flashing lights, or even the trendy flip-flops but it really makes a difference for kiddos.
A recent conversation with a friend who worked at a shoe store for children gave some really good advice that I think is worth sharing. Here are things to consider when buying shoes for your child.
1. Soft Soles. Children need to learn how to bend their feet when they learn to walk properly and if the shoe has a hard sole, they cannot feel how their foot should be moving. A good rule of thumb is to put the shoe in the palm of your hand and make sure your can roll it into a ball. If you can’t, find another shoe. Remember, babies don’t really need shoes until they begin walking – but even then, indoors, barefoot is a great way to learn too.
2. Support. A high-top or leather/canvas tie shoe would be best especially before age 2. Velcro would also work but avoid slip-ons or backless shoes.
3. Correct Size & Fit. Always make sure to measure their growing feet (I would suggest getting them professionally measured). You will likely be buying new shoes often to ensure the proper fit – which includes width of the shoe. Shoes that are too small (or too big) can lead to ingrown toenails, calluses, blisters, and many other problems. Avoid the urge to buy extra large sizes even though they grow out of shoes quickly.
4. Smooth Sole. Make sure the sole of the shoe isn’t too rough. You want to make sure it is not grabbing the floor while they are trying to walk causing them to trip. You do want some texture just not an excessive amount.
5. Light Weight. Little ones are always on the move and need shoes that can keep up. Make sure they are light weight and made of breathable material to avoid blisters and smelly feet.
You will be doing a ton of shoe shopping. Children generally go up a half-size every three months for at least the first two years of their life. After that they will probably go up a half size every four to six months. Find a shoe that works and stick to it.
Happy Shoe Shopping! Maybe spring for a fun character shirt/outfit, just to keep the peace 🙂Brought to you by Mills Apartments Photo courtesy of Suturi