Once your toddler starts taking his or her first steps, not only is it time to celebrate an important milestone, you should also start thinking about getting them a pair of shoes to walk in! Here are some quick tips for you to find the perfect fit for your little one.
#1 Don’t settle for hand-me-downs
With your growing toddler learning to stay on their feet more often, these shoes will be staying on for the majority of the day. So when it comes to footwear, you should never compromise. Settling for worn-out hand-me-downs most likely means that your kid’s new shoes will not fit them properly, and the well-used rubber soles will also be a potential slipping danger for your toddler who is still new to the whole concept of walking. Don’t risk your child’s safety just to save a few extra bucks – better to be safe than sorry!
#2 Go for velcro
While your toddler is still learning the ropes of walking, there’s no rush to teach them how to tie their own shoelaces just yet. Instead, you may want to opt for velcro, a much simpler substitute that’ll allow both you and your child to conveniently and quickly slip their shoes on or off, or adjust the fit. And that’s not all that’s good about velcro; unlike pesky laces, you can be assured that your little one will be less likely to trip over their own feet!
#3 Bring your own socks
One important must-have that many parents overlook when bringing their toddler to buy shoes, is a pair of socks. Remember that your kid will more often than not wear socks with any covered shoes to protect their feet, so their shoe size might need to be increased slightly to accommodate that extra layer. It might be better to bring along a pair of socks that your kid wears the most to be doubly sure that he or she is comfortable with the feel and friction of their socks against the inside of their new shoes.
#4 Look for flexible soles
Considering the amount of running and jumping around an active toddler does, you’ll want to make sure that their feet are well protected and cushioned throughout the day. Having a flexible sole allows for more freedom of movement, as well as gives those little developing feet some buffer room to grow. Ideally, the shoe you pick should be able to bend easily without the use of much force.
#5 Check the fitting
Because your toddler is still so little, you’ll have to make sure that the shoes you choose have enough space for their growing feet. One way to check is to use your thumb and measure the distance between the tip of your child’s longest toe and the edge of the shoe – it should be about half an inch. Also, when he or she is standing, you should be able to squeeze your pinky in between their heel and the back of the shoe.
#6 Choose lightweight materials
Lighter, softer materials will help make your toddler’s walking experience so much easier. Not only does it make each step lighter, it also prevents any abrasions or injuries that could be caused by bulky and hard materials. In addition, try to look out for leather, canvas and newer mesh materials that are more breathable.
#7 Go shopping later in the day
One lesser known fact about young kids’ feet – they tend to expand throughout the day. This means that if you buy shoes in the morning, its most likely going to feel uncomfortably tight in the evening. Hence, it’s better to get a shoe size that is slightly bigger if you have no choice but to shop earlier in the day.
#8 Prioritise comfort before looks
Although it may be tempting to grab that pair of shiny pink boots that look adorable on your little one’s feet, you’ll have to remember that at this stage of your child’s development, having soft and malleable shoes is much more crucial than having beautiful yet uncomfortable ones. Save the heels for the teenage years!
#9 Get your kid’s approval
Unless you have a really easy-going kid, your toddler will most likely have one or two opinions about their potential new kicks. And since they’re the ones who will be wearing them, whether or not they like the feel and look of the shoes is perhaps one of the biggest deciding factor. After all, no one wants an angry kid throwing a tantrum while you’re trying to dress them up for an outing. Once your little one feels comfortable and gives you the green light, you can then buy their new shoes without any more worries!