Picking The Best Baby And Toddler Walking Shoes
With these tips for picking baby and toddler walking shoes, you’ll help your little one put her best foot forward.
Most parents love indulging in a brand-new pair of kicks, but it’s quite a different story when you’re buying footwear for your baby or toddler. First of all, your kid will probably wiggle out of your lap or have a kicking-and-screaming tantrum when you attempt to put on shoes. And even if you can get them on her feet without a fuss, it can be tricky to figure out whether they’re actually the right size.
“A toddler or young child can’t use words to tell you that she doesn’t like the way something feels,” says Ross Taubman, M.D., a podiatrist in Clarksville, Maryland. “To make matters worse, it’s really important to find shoes that fit properly when she’s learning to walkotherwise, she could stumble more and take longer to develop the skill.”
The good news is we have your little ones tootsies covered. Follow these tips for finding the best baby walking shoes and toddler walking shoes.
Whats The Best Type Of Shoe For Toddlers
The best shoe for a toddler allows the foot to make natural motion. Youll want to avoid bulky or heavy shoes that may make walking difficult and dont allow for development of the growing foot.
Qualities to shop for include:
- being lightweight
- being easy to get on and off
- a breathable design
- made from natural materials
Theres no one best shoe for all children. By trying some on, you may find a pair that suits your childs unique foot shape and your familys lifestyle/activities. And remember that the most expensive shoes arent always the best theres a best shoe for every budget.
The Anatomy Of A Baby’s Foot
Babies’ feet are soft, fat and flexible that’s why we just can’t get enough of them! These little bundles of cartilage haven’t fully formed into bones yet, and they can grow a half size or more every 2 months!
In the first 24 months, your babys feet need as much sensory input as possible to develop the proper muscles and bone structure. Keeping your baby barefoot or in socks whenever you can, exposing their feet to different kinds of surfaces, and giving little foot rubs are all good for growing feet!
When you do need to put your baby in shoes, its important to select a pair thats light, flexible and supportive of their natural movements. Take a look at our Soft Motion baby shoes, which are made specifically for this stage of development.
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Do Toddlers Need To Wear Shoes All The Time
Finding shoes that fit well is important, but that does not mean that your toddler needs to wear them all the time. In fact, toddlers should only wear shoes as often as necessary.
Walking barefoot has developmental benefits. Infants don’t need any shoes at all but should have socks to keep their feet warm. Even toddlers walk best without shoes on. “Barefoot walking and cruising are important, so the foot has to practice properly grasping the ground,” says Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD, a pediatrician and medical consultant at Mom Loves Best.
Of course, it is not always safe for toddlers to walk without their shoes. They need some protection when playing outside or when you are on the go. You also need to keep the floors at home clean if you choose to let them walk shoe-free. Grippy socks are another great option for indoors. Soon, after your child starts walking, shoe shopping should be on your to-do list.
Create A Shoelace Size Guide
Shoe stores love to make shoe fitting a challenge, which is why every shoe brand seems to fit a little differently even when the sizes are the same.
Beat us at our own game by creating your own size guide. Measure your babys foot from toe and heel and tie a knot each in the shoelace at the heel and toe. It beats carrying around a smelly old shoe.
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Some Tips For Sizing Your Toddlers Shoes
As you shop for shoes, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Always have your childs feet measured before buying new shoes. Sizes vary from one brand to the next, so its important to get an accurate measurement.
2. Try on both shoes and have your child walk around in them to make sure theyre comfortable.
3. Make sure theres about a thumbs width of space between the end of the longest toe and the tip of the shoe. This will ensure that the shoes arent too tight and that your child can wiggle their toes.
4. Avoid shoes with straps or laces that are too tight. Shoes should be snug but not tight, and laces or straps should be adjustable to allow for some wiggle room.
5. Choose shoes with flexible soles. This will help your childs feet move more naturally and promote healthy foot development.
The Right Fit: Babys First Pair Of Shoes
Your little one is upright and taking her first tentative steps. You couldnt be more excited you finally get to buy that adorable pair of miniature Baby Jordans. But does she really need them? Well, yes and no. When a baby first begins to toddle typically between 8 and 18 months theres no need for her to wear shoes inside the house. But outside, those tender feet need protection, so putting on a pair of shoes is a good idea.
The trick to finding the right shoe? Make sure it fits. Though a little extra space in the toe is necessary, dont try to make footwear purchases last longer by buying shoes a few sizes too big. A novice walker has enough trouble without slipping out of her shoes.
When your babys trying on shoes, watch her response. If a pair seems to hurt or if shes having trouble walking, take them off. Avoid such trendy styles as pointed cowboy boots, which can pinch tiny toes and restrict growth, or clogs, which look cute but fall off easily.
Other shopping tips:
Footwear should be porous and flexible. Shoes made entirely of rubber or plastic tend to be stiff and cause excessive sweating. Choose cloth, canvas, or leather, which stretch and allow a shoe to bend.
The dimensions of the shoe should approximate the shape of a childs foot, so choose square or oval shapes.
A childs longest toe should be a thumbs width from the tip of the shoe.
FEEL THE HEEL
IT TAKES TWO
GET IN THE GROOVE
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The Importance Of Properly Fitting Shoes For Kids
Parents and caregivers with young children know just how quickly their little ones outgrow clothes and shoes, but it may come as a surprise that nearly two-thirds of American children are wearing shoes that are too small. According to a 2020 study, of those children wearing too-small shoes, 48 percent had shoes one size too small, and 19 percent were wearing shoes that were two sizes too small. While frequent shoe shopping for your child may seem like a hassle, its especially important for little feet to have properly fitting shoes.
Why must my childs shoes fit properly?
While its important for all people to have properly fitting shoes for a variety of reasons, its especially important for children. Childrens feet are made up of soft, pliable cartilage that doesnt fully ossify, or turn into bone, until the later teenage years. Too-small or too-tight shoes as a baby grows into a toddler and beyond can impact long term bone growth and development of the feet.
What problems are associated with poorly fitted shoes on a child?
How can parents and caregivers ensure a proper fit?
There are endless shoe options available for children, but its important for parents to remember that they should always choose fit and function over fashion when it comes to their childs footwear. For more information on childhood foot development, visit www.healthychildren.org or the American Podiatric Medical Association online at www.apma.org.
Common Shoe Sizing Mistakes To Avoid
If you follow the tips above, and make sure to use a size chart from the brand you’re shopping with, you shouldn’t have any problems selecting the perfect size shoes for your baby’s feet. Here are a few “gotchas” to make sure to avoid…
Try to avoid hand-me-downs while your little one is still mastering motor skills. Shoes mold to the child’s foot through use, and hand-me-down shoes will be molded to the original wearer’s foot. This could cause irritation in places where the shoe rubs against the foot, and might even cause them to shift their weight incorrectly while walking.
Keeping an eye on foot size
They grow up so fast, and in the blink of an eye they will need to size-up about every 3-4 months. Monitor that growth with regular checks every couple months to make sure they don’t start to outgrow the shoes. It helps to set a reminder on your phone so you remember to check.
If your little starts taking shoes off, hobbling around, or rubbing their feet, those are late signs that they’ve outgrown their shoes and need a new pair quickly!
If you have done all the calculations and find your baby between sizes, go with the larger size. A little extra room to grow is a good thing.
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Do Toddlers Need Shoes With Arch Support
Shoe support is up to parental preference.
The best thing to do if youre concerned about your toddlers feet is to talk with the pediatrician, who will be able to recommend an appropriate fit for your child. You can also read information online that discusses what shoes are good for developing children and which ones they need most.
Can You Wear Shoes A Size Bigger
Its important that childrens shoes fit and a child does not where the wrong size shoes. Just with clothes shops there is no standard sizing. For example, did you know that Start-Rite shoes measure a half size different to Clarks? Our shoes tend to come up half a size larger, so if you use a Clarks measure but want to buy Start-Rite, you should try shoes half a size smaller than your measurement at Clarks.
If, for example a childs toes are scrunching to keep a pair of shoes that are too big, on their foot, not only can this put pressure on your childs leg muscles, this behaviour can send all the wrong messages to the brain which can interpret it as a physical issue and the brain might take measures to compensate for the changed walking pattern.
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Why It Is Important To Size Your Toddlers Shoes Every Few Months
As any parent knows, toddlers grow quickly. In just a few months, they can go from being able to walk confidently to taking their first steps.
This rapid growth can have a big impact on their feet, and it is important to make sure that their shoes are a comfortable fit. If shoes are too tight, they can rub and chafe against the skin, causing pain and irritation.
However in the event that footwear is too loose, they can cause trip hazards and make it difficult for toddlers to walk safely. This is why it is crucial to have your toddlers feet measured every few months and to buy new shoes as needed.
Q: What Are Some Signs That My Childs Shoes Dont Fit Properly
There are a few signs that you can look for to determine if your childs shoes are too tight or too loose. If the shoes are too tight, your child may have difficulty walking or experience pain in their feet.
If the shoes arent tight enough your child might slip and fall. Look for shoes that fit snugly but arent too tight, and make sure theres enough room to wiggle toes.
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Tips On How To Buy The Right Sized Shoes
When it comes to buying shoes for your kids, it’s important to get the right size. Here are some tips on how to measure your child’s feet and find the right sized shoes:
Following these tips should help you find the perfect fitting shoes for your children!
How Can You Tell If Shoes Are Too Small
Run the finger check as above and if you can feel the big toe is close to the end of the shoe, it is too small. Similarly, if you struggle to squeeze your finger between your childs heel and the back of the shoe, or up and under the top of the shoe then they are too small for the child and will soon rub the skin and can cause blisters.
It’s also a good idea to ask your child to walk around in the shoes and ask if the shoes feel comfortable from underneath. The ball of the foot should fit comfortably as this is the widest part of the shoe. Watch your child and ensure that they are walking in their usual way. If the shoes look a little too tight, try going up half a size, or try a wider width size. Different styles fit different shapes and a larger width will also impact the length and can make all the difference in the comfortable fit of a shoe style.
If you want to check the fit at home, use our Children’s Shoe Size Calculator for added peace of mind.
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How To Choose The Best Shoes For Your Toddler
As you shop for shoes, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Comfortable: The shoes should be comfortable from the start. There should be enough room to wiggle toes, but the heel shouldnt slip when walking.
2. Supportive: The shoe should have good arch support and a cushioned sole to protect growing feet.
3. Durable: Look for shoes made from durable materials that can withstand plenty of wear and tear.
4. Lightweight: Avoid heavy shoes that could tire out your toddlers feet.
5. Breathable: Shoes made from breathable materials will help keep feet cool and dry.
6. Easy to put on and take off: Choose shoes with wide openings and Velcro straps that allow your toddler to take them off and on.
7. Flexible: A flexible sole will allow your childs feet to move more naturally.
8. slip-resistant: Look for shoes with a slip-resistant sole to help prevent falls.
9. Stylish: Toddlers can be picky about their shoes, so its important to find a pair of shoes that your child actually wants to wear. Look for shoes in their favorite colors or with fun patterns and designs.
If The Shoe Doesnt Fit Replace It
If your child is in his growing years, you may need to check and replace shoes as often as every three or four months, Dr. Nicolosi says.
Kids feet often grow about a half size in that time, and they need plenty of room to allow their feet to grow properly, she says.
Take the time to measure and fit shoes properly and choose styles that offer good support, and youll get your kids off on the right foot for life.
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How To Measure A Toddler For Shoes
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Measuring a toddler for shoes correctly is an important key to ensuring your child is wearing comfortable and safe shoes that fit. Since toddlers and children experience frequent growth spurts, measuring a toddler for shoes should be done as accurately as possible. Here are some steps to take to measure your toddler for shoes, as well as tips in choosing a shoe that is right for your child.
How Often Do Toddlers Need New Shoes
Children’s feet grow rapidly, so that perfect shoe might be too small as soon as a couple months after you bought it. “Most toddlers require a change in shoe size every two to three months,” notes Dr. Poinsett.”I recommend measuring your child’s feet monthly to check.”
If your toddler doesn’t grow out of their shoes first, they may wear them out instead. Toddlers love to practice walking, and they may cover more ground than you realize each day. They are also notorious for pushing boundaries and exploring new territory, which means they may wade into a shallow creek or play in the dirt. Moral of the story: their shoes will most likely take a beating.
With all this in mind, it may be wise to choose shoes that don’t cost a fortune. Look for shoes that are comfortable, supportive, and the right size, but don’t pay more than necessary.
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Additional Fit Tips For Kids Shoes
Check in with your kids: If they complain that their feet are bothering them, then its time to take a look at how their shoes are fitting. They may be in the wrong size.
Sometimes kids wont tell you that their shoes are bothering them until you ask, so its good to check in a couple times a year. And when you do, be specific with your questions about fit. Ask things like, Do your shoes squeeze here? or Does your foot move around here? while pointing to a spot on the foot. Not all kids will know how to respond to the more general question, Do your shoes fit well?
Consider adult shoes if your kid weighs more than 80 pounds: If your child weighs more than this and can fit into adult shoes then they should make the jump up. Kids shoes just arent built to provide the necessary support for heavier loads. This is also important to understand if youre an adult with small feet and looking to save some money by purchasing kids shoes. Youll save some cash, but your feet might not be happy about it.
Consider womens shoes when moving out of kids sizes: As your child begins to grow out of kids shoe sizes, consider looking at womens shoes for greater variety and availability. For example, it can be difficult to find size 7 kids’ or mens shoes, but it may be possible to find equivalent styles in a womens size 8.5. Just keep in mind that youll pay more for adult-size shoes.
For more fit tips, see our blog post, How to Get a Great Fit in Running Shoes.