What Should I Look for in Toddler Shoes?

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Toddler shoes serve more than a fashion purpose. A proper fit supports the toddler’s growing feet and may prevent future foot problems. Parents sometimes find it difficult to determine how well a shoe fits a toddler. Knowing what to how to fit and what to look for in a toddler shoe makes the buying process easier.


Time Frame

The best time for toddler shoe shopping is later in the day. This gives your little one a chance to run around and play. The feet naturally swell over the course of the day, particularly with activity. By shopping in the afternoon when your child’s foot is larger, you ensure the shoe won’t be too tight to fit comfortably all day. Don’t forget a pair of socks to make sure the shoes fit while wearing socks.

Size

Toddlers grow quickly, even in their feet. Your child might stay in one size for several months only to outgrow his next pair of shoes much faster. Have your toddler’s measured each time you buy new shoes, even if it hasn’t been very long since the last time you shopped for shoes. This ensures you choose the correct size of shoe.

Types

Toddler shoes span a wide range of styles and types, including the type of sole, price, type of toe and general type. Soft-soled shoes offer the foot more flexibility but may cause slipping. A hard sole with deeper tread provides more stability and traction. Open-toed shoes leave a toddler’s toes exposed, which could result in an injury or tripping. A close-toed sandal works better for hot days. Sneakers typically are a practical choice at any time of year. Boots are also an option, but they may restrict the foot more than sneakers. Price is often a point of discussion in toddler shoes. Expensive doesn’t always mean better. The way the shoe fits is more important than how much you pay.

Fit

The length of a shoe is only one consideration with fit. A wide shoe is more compatible with most toddlers’ feet because they tend to be wide at this stage of life. The best-fitting shoe leaves about about a finger-width of space between the end of the toddler’s longest toe and the tip of the shoe. Too much extra space at the toe increases the chances of tripping, and less space restricts the foot. You can also test the fit of a shoe by sticking your pinky finger into the shoe at the heel. You should be able to slide in your pinky to the first knuckle in a properly fitting toddler shoe. Have your toddler try on both shoes to make sure they fit properly, and walk around the store for at least several minutes before you decide on a pair.

Considerations

A toddler’s shoes should fit comfortably from the beginning rather than waiting for them to break in. The shoes and your toddler’s foot help you determine when a new pair is necessary. If you notice red marks on your child’s foot after wearing the shoes, they are likely too tight or badly fitting. Uneven wear on the shoe sole can also mean it isn’t fitting properly, or that your child may need corrective footwear.

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