Buying Kids’ Shoes Post-Pandemic – Are There Any Good Local Shoe Stores Left?

I am increasingly being contacted by many families who are struggling to find a single pair of shoes for their children who have “complex” foot shapes (narrow, wide, high insteps) or foot conditions (flat feet, high arches). These families have no good-fitting local shoe stores near them so they usually just go to big retailers such as Foot Locker, Shoe Carnival, Famous Footwear, DSW, Payless, etc. The issue with these popular commercial places is that they don’t typically size children for shoes, and also don’t carry shoes in different widths (narrow, wide, or extra wide). Buying kids’ shoes post-pandemic has become a nightmare for many families, but this has not to be the case anymore.

After the pandemic, most good children’s local shoe stores went out of business. Some families who turned to the Internet are struggling with online shoe shopping and complain that they don’t always get a refund and have no clue whether the shoes will fit since they don’t have a chance to try them on first. Therefore, my main objective in this post is to help you with two things:

➡️ First, to show you a list of specialized children’s shoe stores by state which are still in business and might be close to you.

➡️ Second, to show you how to determine your child’s exact foot length and shape so you can buy your kids’ shoes online without guessing what shoe size you should order.

Are Any Specialized Fitting Children’s Shoe Stores Left?

Unfortunately, most specialized children’s shoe stores have closed down after the pandemic. I actually noticed that most family owned or small shoe stores were closing down even before the pandemic started, but it seems like the pandemic was the final push to throw these stores out of business. Luckily, there are a few still standing, and I have compiled them by state. You might be in luck and have one of these amazing shoe stores near you.

If after looking at that resource you can’t find any shoe stores in your area, then you can follow my two-step approach where I help families determine their child’s exact foot length and shape (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide, high instep), as well as whether the child might have a foot condition (flat feet, high arches).

1️⃣ Step 1: Measuring Your Child’s Exact Foot Length

➡️ Make sure that your child is standing straight, and then place a measuring tape or ruler below your child’s heels. You must measure your child’s feet while standing, as on weight-bearing the foot becomes longer.

➡️ Measure both feet up to the tip of your child’s longest toe (make sure that your child is not curling his/her toes). You must measure both feet since there is always one foot that is bigger than the other. Keep in mind that your child’s longest toe doesn’t necessarily have to be the big toe — it may in fact be the second or even the third toe.

➡️ Make a note of that measurement in centimeters or inches or email me the image showing the measurements (such as you see below) to avoid confusion with the measurements.

Measurement Box

2️⃣ Step 2: Pictures of Your Child’s Foot Width

The pictures below will help me determine whether your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet.  Also, the pictures will help me see whether your child has a high instep and additional information such as whether your child has flat feet or not. Below you can find examples of how the pictures should look like:

Angle Box
Angle Box
Angle Box

Feel free to include in your e-mail any additional information I should know about your child’s feet:

[email protected]

You will then receive a response within 24 hours with your child’s exact foot length, shape, and specific shoe recommendations as needed.

That resource I created is completely free. I am passionate about fitting children’s shoes as I truly believe that the correct type of shoes can be life changing. Children’s feet are constantly developing, and what happens to their feet during their childhood will affect their physique as they grow older. 

The Importance of Fitting Your Child in the Correct Pair of Shoes

Shoes that are not the right size will spend more time sitting inside the closet than on your child’s feet. What’s even worse, shoes that are the wrong size (too short or too long) can create a myriad of foot issues such as bolsters, calluses, or corns.

You have no idea the large number of families who contact daily via email and mention that their children have developed foot issues. Below are some images for better visualizations purposes:

Thank you for reading! We hope you found helpful this post on buying kid’s shoes post-pandemic! Please feel free to share this post with your community on social media as well as your experiences in the comments section below. Keep in mind that if you have any questions or need any assistance, you can also contact us via email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.