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Why Won’t My Child Keep his Shoes On? – Stop the Constant Battle!


Did you know that the number one reason why children won’t keep their shoes on is that the shoes that they are wearing are either too narrow or too short? When kids start pulling their shoes off it’s time to check what might be wrong with the shoes. One of the most common questions parents ask me at the shoe store where I work is: Why won’t my child keep his shoes on?

Is Your Child Trying to Tell You Something?

I have found that children who are constantly taking their shoes off are trying to tell us something. That something may be that the shoes are too tight and pinching their toes. I will show you how to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home and make sure that your child is wearing the correct type of shoes.

Are your kids curling their toes every time you try to put the shoes on? Just when you think that you have finally won the battle and they have their shoes on, they kick them right off! Let’s take a look at the following scenario:

You took your kids to your local kid’s shoe store to be properly fitted for shoes, you got their feet measured, you found a pair of soft and flexible shoes, you chose the cutest style, and now… your kids won’t keep their shoes on!

The issue is that most of the time your kids won’t be able to express why they are experiencing discomfort. I can guarantee you that most of the time it is because the shoes are too short or too narrow for your kids’ feet.

How to Prevent Your Child From Taking the Shoes Off

1️⃣ The first step is to make sure that the shoes are fitting correctly. Remember that babies and toddlers tend to have wide or extra wide feet, and getting the correct shoe width is just as important as getting the correct shoe length.

2️⃣ If your child is wearing the correct shoe size but insists on taking his or her shoes off, then it might be time to provide your child with a pair of lace up sneakers. These sneakers are harder for your child to take off and with time, they will eventually get used to wearing shoes.

It is always harder to fit baby shoes because we cannot get any feedback from them, while older children can express their discomfort and show us exactly where the shoes are bothering them.


The simple fact of providing your kids with the correct shoes will help keep their feet and legs healthy, and it will end up saving you a lot of money in the years to come.

You might think that you have it all figured out, and that your child is definitely wearing the correct shoe size, but think again.

Shoes come in all different widths, and children’s feet come in different shapes such as narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet.

Some children might even have a high instep, and this requires a deeper shoe. Do you know what the instep of the foot is? The instep is the top part of the foot, and when it’s high, there is the need to find a deeper shoe to prevent the top part of your child’s foot to rub against the top part of the shoes. I will explain this in more detail shortly.

Are You 100% Sure of Your Child’s Foot Size?

Now, several parents have contacted me asking me how they can figure out their child’s foot size from home to be able to order their kids’ shoes online.

I always explain to them that is always better to have their kids’ feet measured at the local shoe store that they trust, that is the reason why I created a resource where I describe the best-fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores – Where To Go for Proper Fittings

Figure Out Your Child’s Foot Size from Home with my Effective Method

If you still can’t seem to find a kids’ shoe store in your area, then you can take a look at an article I created 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.

Remember that if your kids’ shoes are not fitted properly, you are putting your child at risk of developing serious foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns.

By now you should know your child’s exact foot size, so we can move forward and make sure that your child is wearing the correct type of shoes.

Finding the Perfect Pair of Shoes for Your Child – Learn the Secret

There are 3 main points to take into consideration when you are trying to find the perfect pair of shoes for your child:

1️⃣ The amount of growing room you should leave inside the shoe. We want some growing room in the shoes but not so much that we would compromise the child’s stability. You should allow approximately 3/16 of an inch or 0.4 centimeters of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoes.

2️⃣ The width of the shoe. Remember: shoes come in medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) widths. Your child’s toes should never overlap each other or rub against the side of the shoes.

3️⃣ The instep of the foot. I can guarantee that 8 out of 10 parents don’t know what the instep of the foot is. Fitting the instep of the foot is just as important as getting the correct shoe length. The instep is the top part of your kids’ feet, and I have fitted hundreds of children with high insteps in the correct type of shoes. A wider and deeper shoe is usually required to prevent the instep from rubbing against the top of the shoe.

Below is an example of a child’s foot with a high instep:


When children have high insteps, there is a lot of extra foot volume that needs to be fitted inside of the shoes:


If you suspect that your child has a high instep and you want to learn more about the best shoes for children with high insteps, you can read a post I wrote called:

The Best Shoes for Children with High Insteps – Stop Getting the Wrong Shoe Size

If you found that the problem with your kids’ shoes was that they were too narrow or too shallow, take a look at a selection of the best shoes that provide rounder toe-boxes and extra depth.

The Most Comfortable Kids’ Shoes ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

These shoes can fit children with medium (M), wide (W), or extra wide (XW) feet. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

What Shoe Size Should You Order?

In each of the descriptions of the shoes, I indicate whether you need to order a half size or a whole size bigger than your child’s foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

If you have an older child who keeps taking his or her shoes off don’t hesitate to contact me directly and I will send you specific shoe recommendations:


 My Child Curls His/Her Toes Every Time I Try To Put The Shoes On!

Here are some proven tricks that you can try to put your kids’ shoes on more easily:

  • Tickle your child’s feet before putting the shoes on.
  • Distract them with a toy or a treat before putting the shoes on.
  • Sit together and play a game where mom and dad take their shoes off and put them on again.

Some children can’t stand the way shoes or socks feel on their feet, even the seams of the socks can really put them in a bad mood. There are certain socks that are seamless and provide more comfort to your child’s feet.

Socks also play a key role in keeping your kids’ feet comfortable and healthy. Did you know that getting the correct size and type of sock for your child is equally important as getting the correct shoe size?

Let me show you the most common reasons why your child is probably not keeping his/her shoes on, and I will also provide you with a selection of the most comfortable shoes for children that are available in different widths.

Don’t Forget About the Socks! – The Most Comfortable Kids’ Socks

As I previously mentioned, socks play a key role in the way shoes feel. I always recommend seamless socks for babies and toddlers, since they allow them to easily stretch and move their toes freely without any restrictions.

Have you noticed how babies are always wiggling their toes? This is their way of strengthening their feet, hence the importance of shoes that are wide enough and socks that don’t restrict toe movement.

Shoes and socks work together in keeping your kids’ feet healthy. While I can’t get into too much detail in this article about which are the best children’s socks, you should take a look at another article I wrote where I describe the best seamless socks for kids and the best places where you can find them:

Seamless Socks for Kids – Stop the Struggle of Putting Socks On!

Stop the struggle with your child every time is time to put the shoes on! Make sure they are wearing the correct shoe and sock size, and you will see what a huge difference it makes.

Is your child refusing to wear shoes and repeatedly taking them off?  Do you know any tricks to make it easier to get the shoes on? 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 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

10 Comments on Why Won’t My Child Keep his Shoes On? – Stop the Constant Battle!

  1. Great post, Juan! This was good to know. I honestly didn’t know about instep.

    I have two kids and I’ve never really had problems when we had them fitted for their first pair of shoes. However, I had an issue with my daughter when she was three (she’s four now). We once got her a pair of shoes that she wore without complaining; however, the next time we wanted to help her wear those shoes, we discovered that one of them was two sizes smaller. Our mistake: we didn’t try both shoes at the store where we purchased them, and it happened that the manufacturer included two different sizes in the shoe box. It was surprising that she didn’t complain after keeping the shoes on for a long drive (about 9 hours) to and from our relatives’ home.

    Do you have any specific recommendations for kids who are just starting to talk? Is it possible that parents might miss something, i.e., child expressing discomfort by some other means? Thanks!

    • Princila,

      I went over this several times. You can’t just assume because your kids’ don’t complain about pain or discomfort that the shoes fit! Most children won’t say anything even if the shoes are pinching their toes!

      It is your responsibility as a parent to provide your kids’ with the correct pair of shoes. I have written several posts where I describe how to make sure your child is wearing the correct shoe size. You can start by reading this one: How Can I Make Sure My Kids’ Shoes Fit? – Learn The Secret Here!

  2. This has to be a problem every parent faces, no matter what gender the little one is. Lovely article and sound advices on what shoes to go for. Especially if the child’s feet are wider than normal.

    And the room for growth aspect is the main thing in my opinion. As toddlers basicslly grow by the minute, you absolutely have to make sure it’s feet won’t be cramped after a few days/weeks of using them.

    By the way, going for upmarket shoes that are more expensive would be logical to keep the child’s feet safe, right?

    • Hello SImon,

      Just because the shoes are more expensive, it doesn’t mean they are better quality. I have fitted great everyday shoe at a very reasonable prices.

      Always make sure you are providing your child with the correct pair of shoes, that means the correct shoe length and the correct shoe width! Remember that we want some room for the child to grow into the shoe, but not too much that we are going to compromise his stability!

      I wrote a post that describes how to make sure your child is wearing the correct pair of shoes: How Can I Make Sure My Kids’ Shoes Fit? – Learn The Secret Here!

  3. This is a constant struggle for us. It’s hard for kids to communicate, so they act out. My child keeps taking his shoes off every time we put them on.He starts crying and throws the shoes, like saying no way I am wearing these things! I notice the shoes don’t go in smoothly, I sort of have to push them in. Any Advice?

    • It seems like your child needs either longer or wider shoes. We should never struggle when we put our kids’ shoes on, they should go in smoothly. Did you take him to be fitted for shoes at your local kids’ shoe store? I will recommend starting there. If you don’t have a store in your area, I describe the best shoes for kids’ that are learning how to walk here: First Walking Shoes – Picking The Perfect First Shoes

  4. Hi, thank you for writing this article. I agree that the width of a shoe is just as important as the length. My child has extra wide feet and it was difficult to find the proper shoe to accommodate this. I finally was able to find the correct shoe. I wasn’t aware that proper sock size is just as important as proper shoe size. I will certainly be purchasing the proper socks in the future. What brands of shoes would you recommend for children with extra wide feet?

  5. This post brought back so many memories of when my daughter was a baby and would constantly kick off her shoes! I cannot count how many times I have had to hunt down shoes in grocery stores and shopping centers. It’s so true though that we cannot tell how comfortable shoes are for little ones and although some look super cute, they may not always be well-fitting. What do you think of the Carter’s brand?

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