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Second Hand Shoes For Kids – Stop Hurting Your Child’s Feet

Second Hand Shoes Online

Did you know that you can seriously hurt your child’s feet and cause all sort of foot problems by wearing hand-me-down shoes? I understand that we are all in different financial situations, but it is ALWAYS better to buy a new shoe, even if it is the cheapest shoe, rather than providing our kids’ with hand-me-down shoes!

Several problems arise when your child is not wearing the right type of shoe and all of those problems can be prevented. Did you know that seventy percent of foot problems come from wearing the wrong type of shoe? There are several health concerns associated with second hand shoes for kids and some of them are:

  • Hand-me-down shoes tend to mold into the shape of the child’s foot who wore it before.
  • 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, used shoes.

I have been working at a children’s shoe store for almost six years now, and we specialize in children that have foot problems. Pediatricians and physical therapists are always sending children our way to have them evaluated and fitted for good supportive shoes and orthotics.

Here is a common question parents tend to ask:

Is it okay for my child to wear hand-me-down shoes?

I always explain to them how hand-me-down shoes can actually weaken the muscles and ligaments of the foot, can cause issues with bacterial or fungal infections, and depending on the age of the child, can alter the shape of the child’s foot.

Used Kids Shoes

Once in a while I will get a parent that says: ” My child will wear these shoes for such a short period of time that the shoes won’t affect him at all. It is not worth buying a new pair because he grows out of them so quickly!”

That is actually false since used shoes have already molded to the previous child’s foot, and passing them down can affect the shape of your child’s foot especially at an early stage, even if worn for a few hours. I get it, children’s feet do grow at a fast rate, but not providing them with a pair of good shoes will end up costing you more in the long run!

I would like you to stop reading for a minute and think what would be YOUR answer to this question: Are you 100% sure that your child is wearing the correct shoe size?

I believe most parents’ answer will be: NO! I wrote a post that you can probably benefit from reading called:

How To Measure Kids Shoe Size From Home – In Less Than 30 Seconds!

Say No To Hand-Me-Down Shoes!

Have you noticed how when your children take their shoes off they tend to pull them off without undoing the velcro strap or the shoe laces? The issue is that every time they put them on, or take them off that way, they are stretching the heel counter of the shoe, which ends up becoming too wide and notsupportive. Basically, the shoe gets all stretched out!

The picture on the left shows a shoe that has been worn for a period of 4 months, and the picture on the right shows a new, unworn shoe.Do you notice the difference around the heel of the shoe? The one on the left has been stretched out. This is the type of hand-me-down shoe you definitely want to stay away from. The shoe will be too wide around the ankle of your child, which leads to less support and risk for injuries.

Used Kids Shoes

Used Shoes For Kids

There are several reasons for not using hand-me-down shoes. The only time they might be appropriate is when you are wearing a hand-me-down shoe such as a snow boot or rain boot since that type of footwear tends to retain its shape and it’s worn for a very short period of time depending on the weather.

Warning! Are You Ruining Your Kids’ Feet?

As mentioned before, there are several health issues related with wearing hand-me-down shoes. When a kid’s foot is inside the shoe it’s adding warmth and moisture to the shoe, making it the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus.

Did you know that fungus can thrive within the shoe for as long as a whole year? This is a risk you are taking when using hand-me-down shoes for your child. With that said, if your child happens to develop a blister and expose the underlying skin to these pathogens, you are making him or her more prone to bacterial or fungal infection!!!

If you have been using hand-me-down shoes for your child you have probably been saving some money short term, but in the long run, it WILL end up costing you more!

As mentioned before, you are promoting potentially serious foot issues on your child. In order to avoid that, invest in the cheapest new pair of everyday sneakers and have your child fitted so the shoe can last  what is suppose to last. Remember that there is not such thing as two  identical feet, and that all shoes fit  differently.

If you want to know exactly how long your kids’ shoes should last, I wrote a post where I break it down by the age of the child. The post is called:

How Fast Do Kids Feet Grow? Learn About When You Should Replace Your Kids’ Shoes

Used Kids Shoes

Is Saving 40 Dollars Worth Risking Your Kids Health? – Get The Right Shoe!

I understand that economizing is a part of everyone’s life, no matter the income bracket. I always explain to the parents that is always better buying the cheapest new shoe, rather than using a hand-me-down shoe. You can get an everyday shoe with excellent support and structure for  the price of 40 dollars. Depending on the age of the child this shoe will last between 3 1/2  to 6 months. This is a smart investment to make since you will end up saving a lot of money if you take care of your children feet from an early stage!

Below you can find a selection of some of the most affordable kids’ everyday shoes, that also come in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide. Buying a more economical pair doesn’t mean you have to compromise the fit or the support the shoe provides! In fact, purchasing more expensive shoes doesn’t automatically translate into “better shoes“. I have fitted all the shoes you see below, and I can guarantee you they provide excellent support and durability!

The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly).

This first selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

The shoes below will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet.

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.

Hand-Me-Down Shoes- When Are They Appropriate?

If you are not able to afford a new pair of shoes, feel the hand-me-down shoes to make sure they have not been broken down and look at the tread to make sure it has not been worn off.  You should also check if the shoe is machine washable that way you can get rid of any residual bacteria.

If you are still considering hand-me-downs shoes, there are two main factors to consider.

  1. Make sure the shoes are not too worn.
  2. Check the inner sole of the shoe to make sure it has not molded to the previous child’s foot.

The only time I recommend wearing a hand-me-down shoe is when the shoe is a snow boot or a rain boot that will be worn for a couple of hours and only once in a while.

Don’t Forget About The Socks! Keep Your Kids’ Feet Healthy!

Socks also play a huge role in keeping your kids’ feet healthy. Did you know they act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes? I explain EVERYTHING you MUST know about your kids’ socks (from how to get the correct size, to the most breathable socks for kids’, to why socks should be seamless) in a post called: 

The Importance Of Wearing Socks – Grippers Or No Grippers?

I hope that after reading this post you will agree with me that hand-me-down shoes are definitely a big No-No when it comes to everyday footwear for your child. The child that wore it before had his or her own walking habits and WILL wear the inner and outsole of the shoe in a particular way. The shoe will lack support, and there are several health concerns involving bacteria and fungi that can be passed down with the shoe.

Is your child currently wearing a hand-me-down shoe? Did you know about the negative impact this can have in your child’s feet? Have you passed down shoes before? Please share your thoughts and experiences below 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 kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

12 Comments on Second Hand Shoes For Kids – Stop Hurting Your Child’s Feet

  1. This is a great page my daughters both have children now and are always having trouble picking out the best shoes for their children. I will be telling her about your site so maybe they will find help in getting shoes. I want everyone that needs shoes to be comfortable in them . You did a awesome job on this keep up the good work.

    • That’s exactly the purpose of the website! I want all parents to be informed about the importance of fitting children shoes so their children can be comfortable wearing them. Let your daughter know that she can ask any question she has, and I will be able to answer it!

  2. Hi,

    I love your site, a lot of information how not to hurt my kids feet’s.My wife entered your site and was very pleased and now she is going to spend my money 😉

    You provide with all the answers a parent might have when it comes to fitting their children shoes!

    Your web site already in my favorites.

    • The whole idea of this website is to provide parents with all the answers they might have about children shoes and how they fit. If you have any particular question do not hesitate to contact me directly!

  3. I found this website very informative. As a mother of a two year old, who never keeps her shoes on, I was interested in reading about a child’s foot health. My same daughter was born with a club foot so good shoes are important. I would not want to risk the corrective measures we did on the wrong shoes.

    • I agree with you! Definitely keep her in good supportive shoes!I hope she is doing well and try to find out why she keeps kicking her shoes off.

  4. This is great information! I never thought about the dangers of wearing hand me down shoes. What if the child used an shoe insert for support? Is there a way to treat used shoes to get rid of bacteria and fungus? It’s hard to believe that stores with hand me downs would have shoes that could be contaminated with these things. Do they not treat the used shoes in some way? What kind of long term damage could be caused by using hand me down shoes?

    • Putting a shoe inset in a hand me down shoes will not do any good. Inserts or orthotics only work in good, supportive shoes. You can always wash the shoes thoroughly to get rid of any bacteria the shoe might be carrying over. However, the main disadvantage of wearing a hand me down shoes is the lack of support you are providing to your children. This can lead to foot problems, such as foot, leg or back pain later in lifel

  5. I am so glad you wrote this post. I don’t thing a lot of parents realize how important it is to have shoes that are properly fitted for their child. Everyone has a different wear pattern in their shoes and by using a second hand pair of shoes it can really damage a child’s feet. I know shoes are expensive and that kids do wear them for only a short time so can there be permanent damage to a child’s growing foot in just a few short months?

    • Margaret,

      A shoe that does not fit properly can create a myriad of problems to a child’s foot, even if it is worn for a short period of time. As mentioned in the post, seventy percent of foot problems come from wearing the wrong type of shoe.

      Did you know that bacteria and fungus tend to thrive within the materials of the shoes? Hand-me-down shoes might save you money at first, but in the long run, it will end up costing you more.

  6. I noticed​ that you didn’t cite any studies to back up all these claims of second hand shoes seriously damaging a child’s feet, where did you get all of this information from?

    • Hello Robin,

      I have been working for a children’s shoe store for over 7 years, and my claims come from actually helping children who have foot problems due to wearing the wrong type of shoes, not just hand-me-down shoes. I don’t like to cite sources because there is so much information on the Internet that you can find sources pro hand-me-down shoes and against them, and then it’s a constant back and forth. My goal is to make parents aware of the negative impact that hand-me-down shoes can have on their children’s feet. However, all feet are different and while some kids’can develop serious foot issues from wearing hand-me-down shoes, others can wear them without any issues. I strongly recommend to parents to purchase new shoes for their kids, specially when it comes to their everyday shoes!

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