FIND PAIRS THAT ARE TRULY TAILORED TO YOUR KIDS’ FEET
Children don’t know how shoes are supposed to fit them, so it’s up to parents to figure out what’s best for their growing feet. Shopping online can be a time-consuming, trial-and-error process, as, just like adult shoes, sizing and cut vary by brand. Based on years of hands-on experience, Stephanie Teichner, owner of Sprong Children’s Shoes in Buckhead, lends the following tips on finding the perfect fit for your child.
When to Shop
If it feels like you’re constantly buying new shoes for your children, it’s because you are. The tinier they are, the faster their feet grow; up until age 3 or 4, going up one whole shoe size per year is often the norm. Even if they remain the same size, “it’s very rare that a child can stay in the same shoe for a year. They wear it out within six months, before they outgrow it,” says Teichner, who suggests shoe shopping at least twice per year. A telltale sign that a shoe no longer fits is difficulty putting it on, says Teichner. One way to check is to press on the toes. Children should have enough space, about ½ an inch, to wiggle their toes. “If your child’s toes are at the very front of the shoe, it’s too small,” she says. “On canvas or athletic shoes, you can start to see the imprint of the toes pushing forward.”
The best way to ensure properly fitting shoes is to go into a shoe store to get your children’s feet measured by a professional. “Measuring the feet is so key, especially for new walkers to age 3. Their feet can grow every three months or so. Older kids can go seasonally, meaning in the fall and spring,” Teichner says. A shoe fit expert will use a Brannock device, the standard foot-measuring tool for the world’s footwear industry, to take measurements.
For parents who aren’t venturing into retailers at the moment, Teichner suggests looking into a measuring app or printing a Brannock scale from your computer. “Most kids’ feet are not the same size—90% of the time the left is larger than the right. With your child standing up straight, measure both feet, both length and width, and always buy shoes that will fit the larger foot,” she says. It’s also important to take into consideration the shape of your child’s feet, such as flat, high instep or wide. “Arch support is definitely better for the foot,” Teichner says, adding that athletic shoes are a good option to give your child extra arch support. Additionally, a general rule is to avoid hard shoes.
The Essential Pairs
“It’s good to change shoes [for the health of your feet]. Kids shouldn’t wear the same ones every day. Two to three pairs of shoes are always sufficient,” Teichner says. For girls, she recommends an active play shoe with a rubber bottom or an athletic shoe, a spring/summer sandal or water shoe and a boot for colder weather. And for boys, an athletic shoe, a casual shoe like a topsider and a water shoe for summer will do the trick. As for boys’ dress shoes, she recommends finding one that has an athletic bottom with some grip so that it’s more comfortable. While it’s hard to narrow it down to just a couple of favorite brands, Teichner does advocate for Cienta, which carries reasonably priced, canvas Mary Janes in several colors, and Tsukihoshi (pronounced “ski-hoshi”) for an athletic shoe. For wide feet in particular, which can sometimes be difficult to shop for due to a lack of options, she also likes Tsukihoshi, as well as New Balance, See Kai Run and Footmates.
SPRONG CHILDREN’S SHOES
3716 Roswell Road
Managing Editor and Kids Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Wellness & Beauty Writer, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Mother.