While each child is unique, the majority tend to take their very first steps between the ages of nine and eighteen months. It’s a beautiful, magical moment witnessing baby’s first steps, but it also signals another milestone parents now face – choosing their first pair of shoes.
It’s best to wait until the toddler years until you buy baby’s first pair of shoes. This is because while they are still new to walking, barefoot is definitely the best option for baby. They can use their toes for grip, and walking barefoot also gives the feet a maximum workout. So, don’t be too keen to rush out and buy a pair of shoes the minute your baby starts walking!
It may sound like a simple enough task, but buying your toddler’s first pair of shoes can actually be quite tricky. There are many factors you need to take into account to ensure your little one doesn’t end up with ill-fitting shoes. So, to help, below you’ll discover the top tips you should follow to ensure you’re choosing the right shoes for your toddler.
Tip #1: Go To An Actual Shoe Store
It’s tempting to get online and order your toddler’s first pair of shoes, after all, the internet is the first place most people turn to for their shopping needs. However, it’s important to head to an actual shoe store to get your little one’s feet measured first.
The staff at the store will be able to give you precise measurements and ensure you end up buying the best-fitting pair of shoes for your little one. Of course, you can always just use their measuring services and then buy the shoes online once you know which size to opt for.
Even if you do know the measurements, however, shopping online for toddler’s first pair of shoes can be risky. As you likely know, the sizes for clothes and shoes can vary a LOT from brand to brand. So, the only way to really know if the shoes will fit your toddler is by trying them on at a shoe store.
It’s also important to note here that both feet should be measured. This is because there can be quite a significant difference in the size of each foot. If there is quite a large difference, it’s a good idea to opt for the larger, rather than the smaller size.
Tip #2: Look For Shoes Which Provide Room For Growth
Just like babies, toddlers can grow at a pretty alarming rate. This means, their first pair of shoes isn’t likely to last very long. One of the main things to look out for is ensuring the shoes provide plenty of room for growth.
Obviously, you don’t want them to be too loose, but you definitely want to make sure the shoes aren’t too tight. This can lead to all kinds of problems, including ingrowing toenails.
Just ensure the toes aren’t right at the edge of the shoes and you can fit your finger down the sides. If you follow tip #1, you’ll find the staff at the shoe store will usually check the shoes aren’t too tight, saving you a job.
It’s recommended your toddler’s feet should be measured every eight months or so at most to ensure they haven’t outgrown the shoes.
Tip #3: Make Sure Your Toddler Is Wearing Socks
When your toddler is trying on the shoes, they should ideally be wearing socks. That’s because unless you plan to leave them barefoot when they wear the shoes, you need to make sure the socks comfortably fit into the shoes, too.
It’s surprising how much space socks can take up, so always make sure your toddler is wearing the same thickness of socks they will likely be wearing with the shoes most often.
Tip #4: Pay Attention To The Soles
It’s easy to forget to check the soles of the shoes, but they’re equally as important as the design and fit of the shoe itself. You’ll want to make sure the sole is flexible and lightweight. This will aid in your toddler’s walking development.
Also, look at the quality of the sole because if they’re made from cheaper materials, they’ll wear away quickly and become quite uncomfortable for your little one.
Tip #5: Focus On Comfort And Practicality Over Style
You may be tempted to opt for the latest toddler shoe trend, but you need to consider whether it’s actually practical to do so. The shoes should be comfortable more than they are stylish. After all, you’re going to need to change them soon enough so it wouldn’t make sense to invest in expensive designer shoes.
Similarly, clogs, pointy boots and fashionable toddler shoes may look cute, but they can be really difficult for your little one to walk in. Remember, they’re still getting used to walking by themselves so the last thing they need are shoes which make it even more challenging.
Tip #6: Opt For Velcro Shoes
When it comes to the fastenings on the shoes, Velcro is definitely easier. It becomes really difficult to get toddlers ready to leave the house, but Velcro shoes can really help speed up the process. They’re quick and simple to both put on and take off.
The only thing you need to be wary of is your toddler could work out how to take them off by themselves. However, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern for their first pair of shoes as by the time they’ve figured out how to take them off, they’ll have outgrown them anyway.
If you are concerned, choose lace-up shoes, but make sure the laces are long enough to be tied in a double knot. That way, there’s no risk the laces will come undone and cause a potential tripping hazard.
Tip #7: Shop For Shoes Later In The Day
One thing many parents don’t realize is a toddler’s feet swells up later on in the day. This means, if you go shopping for shoes in the morning, they may not give an accurate representation of how they’ll fit later on in the day. Considering how quickly toddlers grow, it’s often better for shoes to be be slightly loose rather than too tight.
Overall, there’s a lot to consider when buying your toddler their first pair of shoes, but the above are some of the most important factors to focus on. It is recommended you take them to a specialized children’s footwear store to get their feet properly measured to ensure you’re buying the right size.