The Best Place to Find Kids' Shoes
for all Foot Shapes and Foot Problems

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


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on April 2022 and reflects up-to-date information on the best children’s shoe stores.

Most specialized children’s shoe stores have been closing down, and parents end up buying their kids’ shoes online and not being 100% sure whether the shoes are fitting the shape of their kids’ feet correctly.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, where we specialize in helping children with “complicated” foot shapes as well as foot issues such as flat feet, low muscle tone, knock knees, or any other type of foot problem that you 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 and 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, 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 sorts 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.

The Best Children’s Shoe Stores by State

How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape from Home

If you still can’t seem to find a good fitting kids’ shoe store in your area, then proceed to take 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:

How to Measure Your Kids’ Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot size and whether the child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your child has a high instep or not.

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. Below 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.

The Advantages of Buying Shoes at Your Local Shoe Store

1️⃣ 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 to offer for fitting children. 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 independent and 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’s feet come in different shapes, and we must have every single width to accommodate 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 know that children’s shoes come in narrow, wide and extra wide widths? The reason I ask you this is because places like Nordstrom’s, Foot Locker 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:

Velcro Shoes for Toddlers with Wide Feet – Oversized Openings and Easy On and Off!

Kids Shoes in Extra Wide Width – The Top 3 Sneakers for Extra Wide Feet!

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. Customers value walking into a store where they recognize the faces. We work with our store’s vision.  We’re not a brand, we’re an independent retailer.


2️⃣ 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, the commission doesn’t necessarily motivate the staff.  This 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.

3️⃣ 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 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).

4️⃣ Personalized Attention – The Bond Is 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 children 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 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I only review shoes that I have fitted before since that is the only way for me to tell how well-made and supportive they are, and how they fit. These shoes are available for kids with medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) feet. Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Do not hesitate to contact me directly at my e-mail if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes for your child. My e-mail address is:


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 from them!


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 kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Do You Buy Your Kids’ Shoes Online?

Subscribe and get my personalized shoe size chart for free to help you find what size to order online.

Shoe Sizing Chart

16 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.


  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.

  8. Hello Juan,
    We are a family owned children’s shoe store in Naperville,IL who has been in business for 88 years. Thank you for your article stressing the importance of properly fitted children’s shoes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.