7 Kids Shoe Fitting Hacks That'll Change Your Life
We get it. Fitting shoes for kids is a headache, made even worse by the
fact that you have to re-fit them every few months. However, ensuring that your
kid’s shoes are correctly fitting is one of the most important things you
can do for their development! The majority of podiatry problems in adulthood are caused by ill fitting footwear in childhood.
Now to get down to business - we are all familiar with sizing and conversion charts, and we’ve even got an expert fitting tool of our own we think is a cut above the rest (well, we would!).
But no matter what tool you use, they never take into account the squirming children and fidgeting feet as you try to squeeze a tiny foot into tinier shoes.
One method to help you size your kids could be to strap them (the child that is) into a straitjacket and coax them into good behaviour with M&Ms and milkshakes.
But short of these undoubtedly poor parenting techniques, here are 7 more kids shoe fitting hacks to help you get the right shoe fit for your kids…
Shoe Fitting Hacks That'll Change Your Life!
1. Wait till the end of the day
Here’s a fun hack you can apply to your own shoe shopping methods as well as your kids’. After toddling and tumbling all day, those feet will bloat.
Leave the shoe fitting till the afternoon or evening so your child’s feet are as big as they’re gonna get (without growing, of course!). If they’re early walkers, coax them out of the pram and onto their feet to get an accurate measure of their mid-play foot size.
If you don’t think about this foot swell, you might buy shoes that are fine when your child is dozing in their pram, but are stiflingly small when they’re at play. And that’s not good for their foot development either.
The best way to measure the foot is in a standing position, when the foot is at its most outstretched state.
2. Create a shoelace size guide
Shoe stores love to make shoe fitting a challenge, which is why every shoe brand seems to fit a little differently even when the sizes are the same.
Beat us at our own game by creating your own size guide. Measure your baby’s foot from toe and heel (when they’re standing, for the best results) and tie a knot each in the shoelace at the heel and toe. It beats carrying around a smelly old shoe.
3. No break-in period
We’re looking at you, ladies. A child’s pair of Mary Janes is not the same as your ankle-breaking high heels. And a child’s ever-growing feet are vastly different from your own.
By the time your child has broken into those beach sandals, their feet are probably already a smidge too large and their shoes in need of an upgrade.
So how do you get it Goldilocks perfect? Shoes that are a touch too large could hinder your child’s walking progress. Too small and they could harm their foot development…
4. The thumb measurement
There’s one crucial device you can’t go without when fitting your child’s shoes.
You’ll be using your thumb to get important measurements, such as heel grip, ankle support and shoe width.
To make sure the shoe is secured lengthwise, your thumb should fit snuggly between your child’s heel and the back of the shoe. There should be space between your baby’s ankle and the shoe, so there’s no cause for blisters or pain.
Press down with your thumb on the front of your child’s shoes as well to make sure there’s a comfortable gap (a thumb width) between the toes and the end of the shoe.
5. It takes two to tango
It may not always be obvious but almost everyone has one foot that’s larger than the other. Measure your child’s feet and make sure you always fit a shoe against the larger foot.
6. Watch them move
Always make sure you give your child a chance to waddle in their shoes before you buy them.
Watch them carefully to see if their walk comes naturally. Do the shoes slip at the heel? Is your child stepping gingerly?
It might pay to ask them. But if we know kids, they’re more likely to be mesmerised by the colourful display shoes than they are by their potential new kicks.
Try to drive their attention to their shoes and ask them leading questions to make sure they’re comfortable. Be specific! Ask them how their toes or the back of their feet feel.
But make sure you’re observant too. Turn it into a game by making them hop or perform star jumps and see whether their motions are fluid (or as fluid as usual for their age!) or whether their shoes hinder their movements in any way.
7. Refit old shoes
Wait? You’re asking me to go through the whole agonizing process with an old pair of shoes?!
Your kid’s feet are GROWING. They will eventually outgrow their shoes. And you want to get in before that happens to make sure they’ve always got the best shoes for their age and foot development stage.
Love these shoe fitting tips? We’ve got plenty more shoe fitting and foot development advice where these came from. We’ve also got adorable kids shoes that’ll help your child’s feet develop naturally and aid them in playtime too.