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Are European Kids’ Shoes Better Than American Shoes? – Find Out The 2 Reasons Why They Are Not!

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I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, and I know everything that relates to children’s shoes and the way they fit. This is a specialized shoe store that focuses on children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics, and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles are better than others.

I am always emphasizing to parents how the most important part of any child’s outfit is their shoes. If you fit your child’s shoes too short, too long, too narrow, or too wide, you will end up creating several foot issues to your child’s feet that range from blisters, calluses, and corns, to foot, leg, and back pain.

It doesn’t matter what stage of walking your child is, the shoes must provide the correct amount of support whether your child is crawling, cruising, wobbly walking, confident walking, stomping (toddlers) or already walking (starts around the age of three and five). Your children’s shoes need to provide the proper weight, support and flexibility to cope with the stage that your child is going through.

There is one common question that I get asked at the children’s shoe store that I work: Are European kids’ shoes better than American shoes?

I always tell them that it depends on what they mean by “better”.

When it comes to the materials that the shoes are made of, European kids’ shoes tend to be a step ahead since they are made out of high quality leathers. There are certain American shoe companies that do make some of their children’s shoes out of leather, but just a couple of their styles. This doesn’t mean that European kids’ shoes are better than American shoes.

Why European Kids’ Shoes Are Not Better Than American Shoes

Reason #1: European shoes are not available in wide and extra wide widths 

I have spoken with several parents who told me how European shoes are better because in Europe shoes are not seen as “fashion items”, but rather as “health products”. I strongly disagree with this statement, because I have noticed a large number of European kids’ shoe styles that are not even available in different widths. This is a huge disadvantage for European kids’ shoes, since I have fitted thousands of children’s feet, from their first steps to their teenage years, and I can tell you that kids’ feet come in all different shape and sizes.

Children can have narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet, and it’s important for shoes to be available in those widths in order to fit the shape of the child’s feet, no matter how narrow or wide they might be.

Providing children with shoes that are too narrow for their feet can lead to foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns, since the toes might start rubbing against each other or against the side of the shoes. On the other hand, providing children with shoes that are too wide will allow your child’s feet to move too much inside the shoes, and that constant friction will also lead to foot issues.

In addition, there are certain children who have a high instep, which also requires a wider and deeper shoe. Do you know what the instep of the foot is? The instep is the top part of the foot, take a look at the image below for clarification:

Kids With High Insteps

Reason #2: European shoes are not capable of accommodating an orthotic.

There are a lot of children who are dealing with particular foot conditions such as flat feet, overpronation, rolled ankles, low muscle tone (just to name a few examples). These children require shoes that provide good support, and a great number of them will require an orthotic to be fitted inside the shoes. If the shoes don’t come in different widths are not wide enough to accommodate an orthotic, then the child’s condition will remain untreated. This is another huge disadvantage of European kids’ shoes.

I also have fitted children with six toes, and if the shoes are not round and wide enough at the front, that extra toe will end up overlapping with the other toes or rubbing against the side of the shoes.

I have fitted several American made kids’ shoes that are not just available in different widths, but that are also supportivedeep and come with a round toe-box.

I believe there is a misconception about parents thinking that most European kids’ shoe brands provide better arch support than their American counterparts. I have fitted certain American kids’ shoes that provide excellent arch support. American shoes also tend to provide more cushion than European shoes.

Let’s compare the best European and American kids’ shoe brands.

Shoes For Kids

European VS American Kids’ Shoe Brands – Which are Better?

The Best European Kids’ Shoe Brands ❤️

Some of the most popular European shoe brands that I have fitted before are Naturino, Primigi, and Geox.

You can probably agree with me that these 3 shoe companies are among the most popular ones among children. All of these shoe companies make some of the best quality footwear I have fitted before for children. However, do you want to know what these 3 shoe companies have in common? None of these 3 shoe companies make children’s shoes in different widths. If your child has a medium width foot you probably have nothing to worry about, but what about all of those children who have wide or extra wide feet?

In my experience, there is a large number of children who have wide or extra wide feet, especially when they are between 1 and 3 years old.

While these 3 shoe companies make some of the most supportive, durable, and lightweight shoes for children they fail to address those children with wide and extra wide feet. From a fitting perspective, this is just unacceptable.

There are also a lot of children who require orthotics to be fitted inside their shoes, and none of these 3 shoe companies make shoes that are capable of accommodating an orthotic.

To summarize, if your child has wide or extra wide feet or a foot condition that he/she is dealing with, you won’t be able to provide them with any of the shoe brands mentioned above.

The Best American Kids’ Shoe Brands ❤️

Some of the most popular American shoe companies that I have fitted before are Stride Rite, New Balance, and Saucony.

I believe that all 3 of these shoe brands provide the same type of quality when it comes to shoes, but the advantage is that they offer shoes in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide.

All of these shoe brands provide certain kids’ shoes that are supportive, but lightweight and flexible at the same time. The good news is that you will even be able to fit an orthotic in case your child needs extra support inside the shoes.

It’s hard to generalize and compare shoe companies because I believe that each shoe style is a little different, even among the same shoe brand.

For example, if a child has a narrow to a medium width foot, the three European shoe companies that I mentioned above will fit the shape of  your child’s feet perfectly, while providing him/her with good support. On the other hand, if a child as wide or extra wide feet with a high instep, the three American kids’ shoe companies that I mentioned above will be better for his/her feet.

Durable Kids Shoes

Now that you know the difference between these shoe brands, let me provide you with a selection of the best European and America shoe styles that I have fitted for children before.

The Best European Shoe Styles for Kids ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Please keep in mind that I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, otherwise I wouldn’t know how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

Here you can find a selection of the best European kids’ shoe styles that I have fitted before. Please keep in mind that these shoes will fit a child with a narrow or medium width foot only. Refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations.

Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.


This selection of shoes also fits “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

If you are looking for any other type of European kids’ shoe styles such as dress shoes, winter boots, or summer shoes, please let me know in the comments section below and I will describe them.

The Best American Shoe Styles for Kids ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Please keep in mind that I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, otherwise I wouldn’t know how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

Here you can find a selection of the best American kids’ shoe styles that I have fitted before. Please keep in mind that these shoes will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet only. Refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations.


This selection of shoes also fits “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

I am always explaining to parents that it doesn’t matter how many features a particular shoe styles provides, if the shoes are not fitted properly, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.

That is the reason why I always recommend parents to take their children to their local children’s shoe store that they trust. The issue is that most fitting shoe stores have been closing down and parents need to end up buying their kids’ shoes online. There is nothing wrong with this, but you must know your child’s exact foot size in order to know what size to order.

I created a map that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state, so I suggest you start by taking a look at that map:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores In The United States – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to identify a shoe store in your area, then proceed to taking a look at an article along with a video I created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How To Measure Kids Shoe Size From Home – In Less Than 30 Seconds!

If you are having a hard time finding a particular pair of shoes for your child please don’t hesitate to contact me, it’s highly likely that I have fitted them before and I will help you find them.

Do you agree with my selection of the best European and American kids’ shoe brands? Is there a particular shoe brand that you think I left out? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so other parents can benefit from them.

Keep in mind that these are generalizations that are not true for every American or European shoe style.

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

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