Children’s Shoe Stores – Where Should You Buy Your Children’s Shoes?

Local Shoe Store

I have been working for a children’s shoe store for over 5 years. We specialize in children that have foot issues such as flat feet, low muscle tone, knock knees, or any other type of foot problem that might come to your mind. As stated, this makes my role as well as the store highly specific. No child leaves the store until they are wearing the correct pair of shoes. If you have read any of my previous posts, you should know by now the importance that properly fitted shoes have  in keeping our kids’ feet healthy.

We often get families that come to the store referred by their pediatricians, to have the child evaluated and fitted for orthotics and good, supportive shoes.We see a lot of children that are experiencing foot and leg pain, and 70% of the time is due to them NOT wearing the correct pair of shoes. Sometimes, these children were fitted for shoes in stores such as Nordstrom’s or Stride Rite, and I am sure you have heard of these two places before. My main issue with these stores is that they don’t train their staff to be able to properly fit your children in the correct pair of shoes.

I can’t blame the staff that works there, but when I see a child that was fitted in these stores wearing the wrong shoe size, it frustrates me since they are putting the child’s foot and leg health in danger. I want to believe that these salespeople simply don’t know what they are doing, and that they don’t fit children in the wrong pair of shoes just to make a sale.

I have all sort of different stories of children being fitted at these stores wearing shoe sizes that were way off! If you want to learn more about why I encourage parents to STOP taking their children to be fitted for shoes at these stores, you can read a post I wrote that is called:

The Best Place To Buy Kids Shoes – Avoid Stride Rite, Nordstrom, Payless…

Buying Kid Shoes

When it comes to fitting the feet of your growing children, I cannot imagine any reason (or excuse) to go somewhere other than an independent shoe store where they will get specialized attention.  Here are the TOP 4 REASONS why independent children’s shoe stores are the way to go when your child needs a new pair of shoes:

Specialization – We Know Exactly What We Are Doing!

You are already at a store that specializes in what you are looking for: children’s shoes, in this case.  There is no corporate buyer making the calls as to what is on offer for fitting your child.  For instance, at the store I work for, we have a particular person ordering/buying specific brands and specific shoe styles.  It’s as straightforward as that.  There is no corporate tower dictating what brands and shoes should go in our store based on geographic demographics.

We are able to order our own shoe brands, and we can choose the ones that offer shoes in different widths. For example, certain shoes come in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide.  We choose to order these shoes because we know children feet come in different shapes, and we must have every single width to accommodate for their feet.

Boy's And Girl's Shoes

The staff that is hired at independent stores is not made up of vague sales associates. We are trained in fitting shoes, brand knowledge, and high-end customer service. We know precisely who we work for and it really and truly forms a bond, a commitment to excellence and delivering the best results for customers and the store.

Did you now that children shoes come in wide and extra wide widths? The reason I ask you this is because places like Nordstrom’s and Payless don’t seem to carry shoes in different widths, since they are probably not fashionable enough to make their selection. If you are having a hard time finding wide or extra wide shoes for your child, you can read a post I wrote where I describe the best wide and extra wide with shoes for children. The post is called:

Children Extra Wide Shoes – Prevent Blisters, Calluses, And Corns!

Stores usually tend to pay a higher salary and provide medical insurance to employees, which allows the store to retain them for longer periods of time, creating a family atmosphere. And customers value walking in a store where they recognize the faces.  We work with our store’s vision.  We’re not a brand, we’re an independent retailer.

We Enjoy What We Do – Incentives Not Based on Commission

This is a key differentiation in the independent retailer versus chain retailers.  At independent stores, commission doesn’t necessarily motivate the staff.  This absolutely sets the tone for the store’s staff and encourages/insists.  The sell-sell-sell model is completely demoralizing, in my humble opinion, for both the employees and the customers.  Rather, we are providing a basic function: outfitting your children for shoes.

We work with the foot, and thus are interested in the fit We can’t have your child walking away with shoes that pinch their toes or leave their heels chaffed.  We’re here to outfit your children for school, play, and special occasions.  The bottom line of independent stores is more often than not customer satisfaction and fostering meaningful relationships between staff and customers.

Retail Trust

Vision and Versatility – We Truly Care About Your Kids’ Feet!

You will find a different and unique vision for every independent retailer rather than a large overarching vision that has to fit the mold of hundred to thousands of stores nationwide and in some cases, globally.  Our store’s vision is simple: Provide outstanding customer service and fit your children’s feet with the most responsible and knowledgeable approach possible.

We hand-selected as what our team considers to be the best for our vision – the best fitting shoes for children and the best shoes to fit the different parts of their lives (school, play, special occasions).

Personalization – The Bonds Are Real!

What’s so special about independent retailers is the personalized attention each customer is guaranteed.  Customers come back and refer their friends and family to shop at a store like the one I work for based on the quality of our service, from fitting to brand knowledge even to fashion advice.  I have formed bonds with the customers, not only the parents but the children as well.  In some cases, I will see the family four, maybe five times a year, but when they come through that door it feels like I am being reunited with an old friend.

These families are placing their complete trust in me with their children’s feet and I must use all my expertise so that child can move around in comfortable, well fitted shoes.

Definition Customer Loyalty

Choosing an independent retailer for your children’s footwear is a personal choice, but I hope that this article has illuminated why it is worthwhile. Now, I understand not all families have an independent shoe store in their area that they trust. If this is the case you can always email with any questions you might have about your kids’ feet. If you are having a hard time finding a particular shoe in a certain width such as extra wide for example, let me know!

In the meantime, you can read a post I created where I describe the best fitting shoes for children, and the post is called:

The Best Kids Sneakers – Learn About The Best Shoes For Children Ages 3 Through 10

And…

If you don’t have a local kids’ shoe store to take your kids to, below you can find a selection of the best kids sneakers that are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide!


Do you have a favorite place where you take your children to be fitted for shoes? Have you shopped at Stride Rite or Nordstrom’s before? What was your experience like? Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can all benefit it from them!

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.

14 Comments on Children’s Shoe Stores – Where Should You Buy Your Children’s Shoes?

  1. Thanks for pointing this out! Shopping local is more important now than ever and, as you state, there are many good reasons for doing so. If people continue buying from the big boxes there will come a day when there are no more specialty shops or independent retailers.

    I agree that it is most important to get quality products from knowledgeable retailers when buying shoes for your children. What happens now while their bones are still forming and they’re still growing will affect them the rest of their lives.

    • Debby,
      I am glad you agree with me about the importance of supporting local businesses. I feel blessed to work for a store where my only goal is to provide excellent customer service and help the customer make the most informative decision possible.

  2. Excellent article, very well written, and filled with lots of helpful information. It’s obvious how seriously you take your job, and nice to read about someone who takes pride in what they do. I was immediately drawn to the fact you support the notion of independent retailers. I also prefer to support my local, independent businesses, the problem is finding them nowadays. Sad, but true! You’re right in saying staff are better trained to help when it’s a shop catering to a specific area/niche rather than a larger department store where staff are assigned anywhere. Must be nice to form such a bond with your customers, and it’s genuine, it’s no fun being anonymous. They sense you care, and it’s definitely the way to gain customer loyalty. I used to go to this one supermarket – not regularly but often enough so the cashier should recognise me. Nope, she gave me the same spiel as she gave everyone else. I never even looked familiar. Support your local business!!

    • Hindy,
      Thank you for stopping by my webpage.I do love working with children and taking care of their feet.They support everything they do thus the importance of proper fit and support. I have form several bonds with the children at the store. One child named Adelaide made me a poem:
      “Dear Juan, I made a poem in your thanks. Big shoes, small shoes, lots and lots of shoes, your shoes, my shoes, I love shoes”!
      I have seen two independent shoe stores close in my area in the last year and it saddens me.

  3. I love shopping local and cannot imagine not shopping locally. It helps the local economy where you live and you are supporting small business owners in the same neighbor where your kids go to school. I like going to the the local shoe store where I live that is owned by a little old lady who has been in the business for thirty years. No one knows shoes better than her. She also has great stories to tell everyone and has repeat business.

    • Stephanie,
      I agree with you. We as consumers should try to support local economy by supporting small business owners.I am sure you have developed relationships with that lady over the years, and it feels nice to shop at a store where you feel appreciated.

  4. Great post, highlighting the benefits of independent store. It just make so much sense. Often and always and every time, we buy shoes for my kids. The sales people are so focused on sales. They do not think or know what will be the right fit for your kids. In my country the people are sales people and don’t know much about the feet and they purpose of the right shoes at the end of the day. This info is very help full. I will never again go to retailers, for I feel they do not give me a good experience when i come there for shoes. Your Advise excited me and it meant a lot more. We are talking about foot health at the end of the day. I am thankful for making me aware.

  5. Thanks for fleshing out some of the key differences between chain stores and independent shoe stores. There is no doubt that, most of the time, the employees in independent stores have specialized knowledge relating to the product being sold. I have witnessed first hand the incompetence of staff and employees in chain retail stores, but they can be all right as long as you know what you want and you just want to get in and out.

  6. You are totally right. The local shoe stores provide the expert, personalized assistance to help assure happy, healthy feet. Properly fitted shoes are especially necessary for children.

    Thank you for this excellent resource.

    Eileen

  7. Thank you for this Post! I have learned from my family that you can Safe Money on a lot but not on shoes. I am from Germany and my Mom Always took me to those little shoes Stores where they fitted your shoes perfect. Now i am a Mom with a 21 months old child and i buy her shoes in Germany, even though we live in New York. I only know the Common shoe Stores such as payless in New York and dont want her to get her shoes there. So i do my 3 Trips a year to Germany and get her shoes and Slippers there, because there i know where to Go. My husband didn’t really believe me when i told him how important the shoes are. I do spend a lot of money on them (about 65€ a pair) but she will be walking on her feet hopefully her whole life.
    My grandma by the way had to wear her siblings shoes and has always huge problems with her feet.

    • Thank you for sharing Katharina. I agree 100% with you, and the whole purpose of the website is to make parents more aware about the importance of well fitted shoes. What most parents don’t understand is how they will end up saving a lot more money by investing in a pair of good shoes, since they will be preventing a lot of foot issues and foot and leg pain.

      European shoes are definitely more expensive but they are also really well made. Thank you again for sharing.

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