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

Most specialized children’s shoe stores have been closing down, and parents have to 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 – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience!

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.

Be Careful About Where You Take Your Child to Be Fitted for Shoes

Most children who are fitted for shoes in stores such as Nordstrom’s, Stride Rite, or Payless end up wearing the wrong shoe size. 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 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 that places like Nordstrom’s, Foot Locker and Payless don’t seem to carry shoes in different widths

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 between 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 with 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 me 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!