Children's shoes - finding the right sizes for kids
Children grow so quickly, especially in the early years, that they probably need new shoes more often than their parents. The range of children’s shoes available is incredible, from babies’ booties to toddlers’ first shoes and novelty shoes and boots.
It is essential that the shoes you buy for your kids support their growing feet and encourage them to walk properly with a good posture, without putting too heavy a strain on their legs. It can be tempting to buy cute novelty shoes for children, but it is vital to prioritise comfort and support over fashion in the first few years when kids are learning to walk.
Babies should wear very light, thin booties, since they are constantly moving about and need to have the freedom to do so. There are babies’ versions of fashionable trainers and sports shoes available, but do make sure that your babies shoes are not made of any material that is too heavy for their legs. Babies’ booties are traditionally made of wool, and these are readily available in all good babywear stores, or you could knit them yourself. Nowadays there is a wide range of booties made from flexible leather just thick enough to protect the feet from cold but thin enough for the feet and toes to be able to move around freely.
Toddlers’ first proper shoes should also be very lightweight and supportive, so canvas or lightweight leather are great. Rubber-soled shoes with a good grip are ideal, and will prevent your child from slipping as he or she becomes a more confident walker, as well as encouraging your child to feel comfortable and secure in shoes. Choosing shoes with uncomplicated fastenings is also very practical, since you will be able to teach your child to fasten his or her own shoes from a young age. Velcro is especially good for young children.
As kids get older, the variety of shoes they can choose from increases enormously. School shoes, sports shoes and free-time trainers or sneakers come in all styles and sizes, and it is always possible to track down mini versions of the latest adult fashions.
When buying children’s shoes it is advisable to take the kids into a shop to get their feet measured. Different manufacturers sometimes have slightly different sizing policies, so if you are planning to buy shoes online – and it can often be cheaper to do so – try to find a pair of shoes by the same manufacturer in a shoe store and check your kid’s size against those.