I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, where 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 think of. 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 your kids’ feet and legs healthy.
We often get families that come to the store referred by their pediatricians, physical/occupational therapists to have their kids evaluated and fitted for orthotics and supportive shoes.
We evaluate a lot of children that are experiencing foot and leg pain, and 90% of the time the pain is related to wearing the wrong pair of shoes (this involves the wrong shoe size or the wrong shoe style).
Most of these children were fitted for shoes in stores such as Nordstrom’s, Stride Rite (most stores have been closing down), or Payless and I am sure you have heard of these 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 compromising the child’s foot and leg health. 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 in shoe sizes that were way off.
I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes that properly fit. The issue is that most of these independent kids’ shoe stores have been closing down, and parents are left with these big retailers or online shopping.
How Safe Is It To Purchase Your Kids’ Shoes Online – Let’s Find Out!
I have been contacted by a lot of parents who purchase their kids’ shoes online, and for the last 3 years I have been helping those parents find the perfect pair of shoes for their children online.
Before you decide to purchase your kids’ shoes online, take a look at a map I created that displays the best children’s shoe stores by state. You can find that map here:
If you still can’t seem to find a good fitting kids’ shoe store in your area, then proceed to taking a look at an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:
Please remember that I always recommend having your children fitted at your local children’s shoe store (if you have one).
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.
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’s shoes come in narrow, 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. If you are having a hard time finding wide or extra wide shoes for your child, you can read an article I created where I review the best wide and extra wide shoes for kids:
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.
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.
Final Thoughts – Do you Have a Good Local Kids Shoe Store?
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 a narrow or extra wide width for example, please let me know and I will help you find it.
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. These are all shoe styles that I have fitted before, and I am familiar with the quality and support that they provide, as well as how they fit.
The Best Shoes for Kids – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This first selection of shoes will fit a child with narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly):
The shoes in the first-row fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the standard foot measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room.
This selection of shoes will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet:
The shoes in the second-row fit “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.
Do you have a favorite place where you take your children to be fitted for shoes? Have you shopped at Stride Rite, Payless, or Nordstrom’s before? What was your experience like? Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can all benefit it from them!