How to select your toddler's first pair of shoes?
When your child starts walking, a question pops up: when should I start buying shoes for him/ her and how to choose their first pair of shoes? When they start walking the best is to let them wonder around barefoot in your home environment, but as soon as you take them outside to explore, you should start protecting their feet with the right pair of shoes. Shoes that support healthy foot development which is so important to focus on as they will be walking on their feet in the rest of their lives. By putting healthy shoes on their feet, you give them the right foundation in life and may avoid heath issues later on in their lives (read more on healthy feet development in our previous blog). Healthy shoes have leather lining which helps absorb moist and sweat during the day (evaporates in the evening), firm ankle support (to avoid x-legs or bendy-legs), flexible, wide non-slip soles and easy fastening variants. There are many different styles of shoes on the market but you should look out for these key features.
When you go shopping for their first pair of shoes, it is recommended (by podiatrists as well) that you measure their feet first in order to make the right decision on the size. Remember, that each shoe manufacturer uses different shoe lasts for making their various designs, hence you should use their size guide after measuring your child’s foot length and width before choosing the size. This is a common practice as children cannot feel if a pair of shoes small or big on their feet, they do not tell us “Mom/ Dad this shoe does not fit me right” and by trying to feel where their longest toe sits when they try the selected shoes on, will not give you an accurate answer either. Measuring the feet should however not replace trying the selected pair of shoes on, just to see if they walk confidently in those selected shoes.
One important note to remember: children’s feet grow 1.5mm a month (on average) under 3, their feet should be then measured every 2-3 month, to keep track of their growth. Between the age of 3 and 6, the growth slows down to 1mm a month so you should measure their feet every 4-6 month.