I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, and I have noticed how parents tend to make the same common mistakes when buying their kids’ shoes.
I know everything that relates to children’s shoes and the way they fit. I work for a specialized shoe store that focuses on children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics, and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles are better than others.
Finding a pair of shoes that fit, are fashionable and helpful to the healthy development of your child’s feet is not an easy thing to do.
I have helped a large number of children who were experiencing foot and leg pain find the correct types of shoes to significantly reduce, and in some cases fully eliminate the pain.
Most of the children that were experiencing pain and discomfort were not wearing the correct shoe size or the correct shoe style.
I have noticed that most of these families were making the same mistakes when buying shoes for their children, so I decided to create this article to explain these mistakes and how to overcome them.
Before I begin, I want you to remember one thing: It doesn’t matter how supportive, durable, breathable, lightweight, and flexible the shoe that you purchase for your child is, if it is not fitted properly, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoe has to offer.
Kids’ feet grow so fast that buying increasingly larger shoes for them is inevitable until they finally reach their teenage years. That is why buying footwear for children can be very frustrating – not only the constant financial expenditure but also the knowledge parents have to possess in order to choose the right pair of shoes.
Let me show you the five most common mistakes parents make when buying their kid’s shoes and how to overcome them.
Mistake #1 ☹️
► Assuming That the Size Your Kids Measure at the Foot Measuring Scale Automatically Translates Into Their Actual Shoe Size
Most parents believe that the size that their children measure in the standard foot measuring device (Brannock Device) will automatically translate into their child’s correct shoe size. This is the most common mistake parents make that leads their children to wear the wrong shoe size and develop foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns.
You always want to provide your child with a half a size longer (3/8 of an inch) of the size that your child measures in the foot measuring scale.
If your child measures a foot size 5 and the shoes fit “short”, then you will need to choose the shoe size 6 in order to allow enough growing room (a whole size longer instead of a half a size longer). On the other hand, if the shoes fit “long” then you will need to pick the same shoe size instead of going a half a size longer (since the shoes already fit long).
I always recommend parents to take their children to their local fitting children’s shoe store that they trust, the issue is that most fitting stores have been closing down and parents need to end up buying their kids’ shoes online. There is nothing wrong with this, but you must know your child’s exact foot size in order to know what size to order.
I created a map that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state, so I suggest you start by taking a look at that map:
If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to identify a shoe store in your area, then proceed to taking a look at an article along with a video I created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:
Mistake #2 ☹️
►Assuming That Shoes Only Come in Medium Widths
Most parents are not aware of the fact that certain children’s shoe styles are available in different widths, and they end up buying shoes that are too long to compensate for their children’s wide feet, or too small to compensate for their children’s narrow feet.
This is also one of the most common mistakes parents make.
If your child has narrow feet, there are certain children’s shoe styles that fit narrower than others. If you have a child with narrow feet, take look at an article I wrote where I describe the best narrow shoes for kids. Go to the link below:
When it comes to children with wide or extra wide feet, there are shoe styles that actually come in extra wide widths and some of the most popular shoe brands for kids with wide feet include New Balance, Saucony, and Stride Rite.
I describe a selection of the best children children extra wide shoes in another article called:
Mistake #3 ☹️
►Letting Their Children Wear Their Shoes Without Socks
I have seen this numerous times, and I understand, certain children can’t tolerate the way socks feel. However, keep in mind that socks act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes, preventing the buildup of bacteria inside your kids’ shoes.
Socks will also cushion your kids’ feet, preventing your kids’ feet from rubbing against the shoes.
For example, when children don’t wear socks with their shoes they might get blisters in the back of their heels or on the top of their toes.
If you have a child who feels every bump and lump and can’t stand the way socks feel, you should strongly consider providing your child with a pair of seamless socks.
Here you can find two articles that describe the best seamless socks for children:
Mistake #4 ☹️
►Providing Children with Hand-Me-Down Shoes
There are several health concerns associated with handing down shoes:
- The tread and the heel counter of the hand me down shoe might be worn down, which can lead to less support and stability.
- Bacteria and fungus tend to thrive within the materials of older, worn shoes.
Please try to avoid providing your child with hand-me-down shoes. It’s always better to provide children with the most affordable shoe rather than a used one. The only type of footwear I recommend parents handing down is rain boots or snow boots, since they tend to hold the shape better than any other type of footwear.
Mistake #5 ☹️
►Wearing Fashion Shoes Instead Of Sneakers
The following is a common question parents ask about their children’s shoes: Can children wear fashion shoes instead of sneakers?
I don’t recommend allowing your child to to wear fashion shoes for more than 6 hours a day. Most fashion shoes don’t provide the correct amount of support for your child to be able to walk and run around comfortably and safely.
If you decide to provide your child with a pair of fashion shoes, I recommend that you have your child alternate them with his/her everyday sneakers.
Let me show you a selection of the most popular everyday shoes for children that I have tried before. These styles are supportive, lightweight, flexible, breathable, and durable.
The shoe styles I will describe below are all available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide, so please choose your child’s foot width accordingly.
The Best Kids’ Shoes ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, otherwise I wouldn’t know how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.
Here is a selection of the best kids’ shoes that I have fitted before. This first selection is for boys:
This selection is for girls:
This selection of shoes 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.
According to a survey conducted in the US, 70 percent of kids wear ill-fitting shoes, and their parents do not even notice it. While larger shoes for children might mean saving a little extra money for parents, this could be very dangerous for kids. A little space between the toes and the shoes will give your child’s feet room for breath and wiggling, but too much space could cause them to trip and also create several foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns.
Do you identify with any of the mistakes that I mentioned before? Have you tried a particular shoe style or shoe brand that has worked well for your child’s feet?