Handy Tips when buying and sizing baby and toddler shoes

Shoe shopping for a toddler today can be a headache! First off, the fashion options are limitless, from plastic to leather soles, flip-flops to workman boots to moccs. At the same time, many toddlers are just working out how to take their first little steps or have just learned how to sort of walk or stumble, so they aren't so steady on their feet. As a result, finding the right type of baby shoe that fits correctly can often seem like a big high stakes gamble, since kids without the right shoes can trip, fall, end up with in the hospital hurt or heaven forbid or worse. To avoid making some really bad or regretful mistakes on your next toddler shoe-shopping spree, have a read of our handy guide below:

#1: Choosing miniature versions of grown-up styles like flip-flops, thongs, slip-ons, and cowboy boots with heels.__

This is not a good idea. Children’s shoes, particularly ones for toddler and babies should be designed with kids in mind and should allow kids to do what they do best: play. Many kids shoes today, especially the styles that are smaller versions of the women's shoes, are just not designed in consideration for the all important gait development." For instance: outwardly harmless features like slide-ons can force toddlers to have to "grip" the shoe with their toes so it doesn't slide off. This, in turn, can result in a host of problems in the future such as back pain, knee pain, and beyond.

A much better idea is to look for soft flexible soles. What would be even better are shoes with soft leather soles for babies and toddlers such as the ones that we sell here in our store, You really want to avoid hard, tough soles and of course, without a doubt heels, flip-flops, high boots, and even Crocs. Make sure that the shoes are fully attached to the foot and do not have a shape to the sole that elevates the heel over the toe (ie no platforms - I mean, the little ones can barely walk at this stage!).

What you want are shoes that mimic being barefoot. Really do xonsider how shoes work for the body, not for the outfit." Adjustable straps, extra padding, flexible uppers, and soft materials are also important. These days, it is actually possible to find fancy, stylish shoes which are also good for children’s feet.

#2: Buying shoes slightly big so that your child will "grow into them."

Having children is not cheap. Many of us want to buy bigger shoes because we hope that they will last longer on those little feet that keep growing so so fast. However, this means that the shoes don’t fit for a long time. During which time, your baby or toddler becomes even more (As if they weren’t enough already!) vulnerable to serious trips and falls. As much as you're tempted to buy a 1/2 size bigger to make them last longer, don't__. What’s worse, has anyone put them aside for then they will fit, and then forgotten about them? There is nothing worse than shoes that never get worn!

We strongly suggest that you find the right sized shoes. The best place to start would be our sizing guide which has all sorts of handy hints for selecting the correctly sized sandals, shoes, boots and socks for your child. Also, if you like shopping online, make it a point to shop with retailers that have an easy, fuss free exchange policy like we do as it removes the temptation to squash those tiny little feet into baby shoes which are either too big or too small.

#3:Choosing a stiff, sturdy shoe with hard soles to protect a toddler's feet.__

This is why it isn’t really a good idea . Toddlers feet are yet to develop the muscles to support themselves properly.  Stiff shoes weaken those foot muscles making their development slow down or worse, go backwards. The result: More stumbling and less endurance for long walks. Just think about it, we ourselves don’t do well in stiff shoes either! I mean, just try walking a mile in clogs! Instead, try looking for a shoes that fully protect the foot from debris, but that have a flexible sole. "This allows the feet muscles to do their work," say experts. A good test: Try folding the shoes in half to ensure that the shoes are flexible. Often, the best types of shoes are the sort with soft leather soles, just like that we sell at Kit & Kate.

 #4:Assuming the shoes still fit fine if the toddler doesn't complain.__

Toddlers are tough little things. I kid you not. They really are! Many parents assume that their toddlers' shoes still fit as long as they don't say it hurts, which is often not the case. Many kids just do not speak up and are walking around in shoes that are way too tight. At times the first sign that things are wrong are blisters on their little feet, followed by a lot of parental guilt. Again, it is important to make sure that you re-check your toddler’s shoes every two to three months. You should be able to squeeze your little finger in between their heel and the back of their shoe. But what if they are wearing thongs? If that is the case, do jump back to #1. Also, don’t forget to do the old squeeze test at the toe to make sure that things aren’t too squashy there. Also watch for redness or soreness at the outer edge of their big and little toes, a sure sign that the shoes are a bit narrow.

#5:Keeping toddlers in slippery shoes or booties once they're walking well.__

Many baby shoes have smooth leather soles. We learned that it is best to have either suede soles or leather soles with non-slip inserts. Why? Because smooth leather is slippery! I’m sure many of us have memories of slipping and sliding on those leather soled dress shoes which were beautiful and deadly!

What shoe wearing ideas do you have for your baby or toddler? Do let us know in the comments!

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