Why Won’t My Child Keep His Shoes On? – Stop The Constant Battle!

The Secret About Shoes

Did you know that the number 1 reason children won’t keep their shoes on is because the shoes are too tight? Is your child curling his or her toes every time you try to put their shoes on? And just when you think that you have finally won the battle and the shoes have made it on their feet, they kick them off! Let’s take a look at the following scenario:

You took your child to your local kids’ shoe store to be fitted for her first pair of walking shoes, you got her feet properly measured, you found a pair of soft and flexible shoes, you chose the cutest style, and now… she won’t keep her shoes on! Not only will she not keep her shoes on, She screams her lungs out every time you try to put the shoes on!

While most children who refuse to put or keep their shoes on are infants, I have seen this happened with older kids as well. In these cases, we may or we may not get any feedback from the child to realize what the issue is. I can guarantee you that most of the time it is because the shoes are too short, or too narrow for your kids’ feet.

You ight think that you have it all figured it out, and that your child is definitely wearing the correct shoe size, but think again! Shoes come in all different widths, and children may have narrow, wide, or extra wide feet. It is important that you provide your child with the correct shoe size not just in length, but also width.

STOP providing your child with the wrong pair of shoes. 

STOP taking them to be fitted for shoes at places like Nordstrom’s , Stride Rite, or Payless! Find out why here:

The Best Place To Buy Kids Shoes – Avoid Stride Rite, Nordstrom, Payless…

STOP thinking that socks are not important. They actually play a key role in keeping our kids feet comfortable and healthy! Did you know that getting the correct type and sock size for your child is just as important as getting the correct shoe size?

Kids Taking Clothes Off

Finding The Perfect Pair Of Shoes For Your Child – Learn The Secret

There are three things to take into consideration when you are trying to find the perfect pair of shoes for your kids:

  • The amount of growing room left in the shoe. We want some growing room in the shoes but not so much that we would compromise the child’s stability.
  • The width of the shoe. Remember: shoes come in medium, wide, and extra wide.
  • 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 our feet, and I have fitted hundreds of children who had high insteps. This requires a wider and deeper shoe to prevent the instep from rubbing against the top of the shoe.

If 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!

I have been fitting children’s shoes for over 6 years now, and while I love children and I have fun doing what I do, babies are a huge unknown when they come to get fitted for their first pair of shoes! You don’t know if they will be happy and smile, or whether they will scream their lungs out right into your ear when you are getting ready to measure their feet!

I explain to parents that is totally normal for children to cry when they are fitted for their first pair of shoes. It is a new experience to them, and new experiences are scary for most people! While it might only be a matter of time, before your child develops the habit of taking their shoes off, you should strongly consider having his feet measured again and make sure they are wearing the correct shoe size.

Shoes For A Baby

Now, several parents have contacted me asking me where they can get their kids’ shoes online since they don’t have a kids’ shoe store in their area that they trust. I always explain to them that the best thing for their kids’ feet is to be properly measured, so if you have to drive the extra mile to find a children’s shoe store that you trust, do it! If you must get your kids’ shoe online, the best place to find them and the best way to find the correct shoe size can be found in this post: 

Kids Shoes On Amazon – Is Amazon The Best Place To Buy Your Kids’ Shoes?

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. Fitting a child into his or her first pair of shoes feels like a great responsibility. Shoes play a huge role in healthy foot development, and wearing the correct shoe size will keep your kids’ feet and legs healthy throughout their development.

If your kids shoes are not fitted properly, you are putting your child at risk for developing serious foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns!

What Are The Steps To Take When A Child Won’t Keep His Shoes On?

  • The first step is to make sure that the shoes fit correctly. Remember that babies tend to have wide or extra wide feet, and getting the correct shoe width is just as important as getting the correct shoe length.  Stop worrying so much about how the space you leave for your child’s feet to grow into the shoe! If you want to have a better idea about how long should shoes last for children, take a look at this post where I explain how fast kids’ feet grow depending on their age:

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

  • If your child is wearing the correct shoe size but insists in taking his or her shoes off, look for a pair of lace up sneakers. These sneakers are harder for your child to take them off and with time, they will eventually get used to wearing shoes!

Ballet Shoes For Kids

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 shoe are bothering them!

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL FITTING SHOES! The simple act of providing our kids with the correct shoes will keep their  feet and legs healthy, and it will end up saving you a lot of money in the years to come.

Where Can I Find Wide or Extra Wide Shoes For My Child?

If you have found that the problem with your kids’ shoes was that they were too narrow,  I can show you a selection of wide and extra wide shoes for children whom I have previously fitted at the store! Remember that I always recommend to parents to take their children to a local kids shoe store that they trust in order to get their feet properly measured and their shoes properly fitted. If you don’t have a local children’s shoe store in your area, below you will find the best shoes for children with wide and extra wide feet!


All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”,which means that you need a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

Don’t Forget About The Socks! – The Best Kids’ Socks

Yes! Socks play a huge role in the way shoes feel. I always recommend seamless socks for babies, which allows 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 to keep our kids’ feet healthy. I wrote a post about 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!

 My Child Curls His 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 their 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!

If you have an older child who is always complaining about his shoes and socks, take a look at a post I wrote that might help you prevent or completely eliminate that issue:

Shoes For Kids With Sensory Issues – Let’s Find Some Magical Shoes

Stop fighting with your child every time is time to put shoes or socks on! Start by making sure they are wearing the correct shoe and sock size, and you will see what a huge difference it makes!

Does your child refuse to wear shoes and repeatedly take 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 it from them!

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

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.

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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