How to Buy Shoes for Your Children Painless Shoe Shopping for You and Your Kids

Shopping for shoes with your children shouldn't be a disaster, but an adventure! It should be fun for your kids, as well as for you. Here is how...

Usually, as you walk into the shoe store, you panic. Your child needs a new pair of shoes, and you have no idea where to begin. Mothers of the world unite! Having a daughter myself, I feel your pain. But having almost 4 years of experience selling shoes to people like you, I can help. Buying shoes for your child is painless if you take these three basic steps: use the department measuring scale, compare the differences in sizes, and consider fit and support as two important factors before purchasing.

Your feet are an important part of your body and affect your health. They let you walk, run, and they hold all of your weight. When something goes wrong with your feet, you may find something wrong with your legs and your back, and you may even experience headaches. It's imperative you take care of your feet to avoid other health issues. It's especially important to take care of your child's feet, because they are still growing. Because you're on your feet most of the day, choosing the right shoe is the first step to healthy feet.

The department measuring scale is there for a reason, use it! It's needed for an accurate size measurement. Without it, three mistakes occur. The first mistake is using the shoe size printed on the tongue of the old shoe to determine the next size to purchase. Children grow quickly, and that old shoe may be two sizes too small now. The second common mistake made is using a shoe box with a picture of a scale printed on the top to measure both feet. That picture is usually designed to measure the right foot only; holding the box to your child's foot isn't just inaccurate, but also impossible. Your child must stand on the scale because it measures both the right and left foot, and feet widen when planted firmly on the ground. The third mistake is allowing your child to pick out and try on a shoe. Children want what they want, when they want it, and will swear the shoe is the right size. To avoid all of this, always use the scale!

The scale is simple to use. Choose which foot to measure first; be sure your child has socks on his feet. The scale must be turned around to measure right or left. You will know if it's turned the correct way by looking at the numbers: they should be in order from smallest to largest, from the heel of the foot to the toe. The heel of the foot should be against the back of the device, with toes uncurled towards the front. Standing up, look straight down at the end of the biggest toe, and that number is the correct size of the foot. To measure width, move the slider on the side of the scale against the side of the foot. Match the numbered size with the letter A, B, C, D, or E. A is narrow; B and C are medium; D and E are wide. The number and letter you measure is the complete size of your child's foot. For example, 3B equals a size three shoe with a medium width. Use this procedure for the other foot; remember to turn the scale around. Note: one foot is always bigger than the other, so use the bigger size when picking a shoe. Now that you've figured out what size to find, it's important to compare shoes.

Differences in shoe sizes vary significantly, because brands are made differently. It's an oversight to buy a shoe based only on the size of the foot. The key is to try more than one style of a brand on your child. For instance, if you're partial to Nike, then you know Nike shoes tend to run smaller, which means you may need the next size up. You might notice most shoes for children are only available in whole sizes. The reason for this is because there's only one-quarter of an inch difference in half sizes, and allowing one size for growth is necessary for children. After you've chosen which shoes to try on your child, there are two central factors to consider.

The first factor is the fit of the shoe. Have your child walk in the shoes he tries on, and pick the ones that don't slip in the heel. Next, press your thumb down on the toe of the shoe, and feel for "breathing room". There should be a thumb's width between your child's toes and the toe of the shoe. Third, be certain the width isn't too snug. For example, if your child's feet seem to bulge in the shoes, they are too tight. Even if they are leather, they will not stretch enough to allow for maximum comfort. If your child is able to walk and run without tripping, and doesn't complain about the shoes, then you may assume the shoe is a comfortable fit.

The second factor is the support of the shoe. First, compare the padding, or insole, inside shoes once you've narrowed your search. Feel for arch support, which is between the ball and the heel of the foot. If your child has a flat foot, consider purchasing the shoes with the flattest insole. If he has a high arch, consider shoes which have a high rise in the insole. Next, compare the soles of the shoes. The soles of walking shoes possess more support for heels, while soles of running shoes have more support for the ball of the foot by the toes. Once you're happy with the support of the shoe, you're now ready to purchase.

Buying the right shoe for your child should be fun. To avoid common mistakes, use the department scale to measure the correct size. Compare sizes by trying different styles of brands on your child. Always consider fit and support as the two most important factors to consider before buying. If all else fails, find a professional to help you. With the knowledge you possess and the help you receive, your child's feet will be happy and healthy.