10 Tips to Make Buying Shoes for Toddlers and Kids a Breeze

shoes for toddlers
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Let’s be honest: It can be overwhelming to buy shoes for toddlers. It’s hard to find the balance between the right size, the right style, the right fit, and the right price.

Of course, we want our kids shoes to be comfortable, quality, and long-lasting.

But, how do we find the perfect shoe? Here are ten tips to help make buying shoes for toddlers and kids a breeze.

1. Time Matters with Shoes for Toddlers

It sounds silly, but it’s true. It actually does matter what time of day you buy your shoes! The best time of day to buy shoes is in the late afternoon.

As we go throughout our days our bodies swell slightly, depending on a variety of factors. One of the parts of the body that will experience swelling is our feet. Our feet can swell up to a full shoe size. That size 7 that felt great at 8 A.M. might not feel so hot at 3 o’clock in the afternoon!

For adults, it’s easy to tell when our shoes aren’t working. Our little ones might not be as vocal or even understand the source of their discomfort. Avoid buying shoes that don’t fit right by shopping at the right time.

adidas Kids Racer TR 2.0 Running Shoe, Grey/Clear Pink/Rose Tone, 5 US Unisex Toddler

2. Be Practical

Yes, we all know they’re adorable: the little mini cowboy boots, the tiny heels, and flip flops or sandals. It’s so tempting to buy the tiny replicas of our own shoes for our kiddos, but unfortunately, it’s not a great idea.

Impractical shoes just aren’t realistic shoes for toddlers. Not only can these types of shoes negatively affect their gait, but they’re not comfortable to wear all day. Save novelty shoes for special occasions and short-term wear.

3. Don’t Bother with Slip-Ons

As parents, we know that getting our young kids out the door can be a hassle. That’s why buying slip-ons may sound like a great time-saving measure. Like the boots, heels, and sandals — slip ons aren’t practical for toddlers.

Kids who are just really getting the hang of walking need to be able to focus on walking.

Putting shoes on them that may slip on and off easily will detract from their ability to walk, as their attention shifts to keeping the shoe on. Avoid accidents by keeping it simple and finding shoes that you can safely secure.

Simple Joys by Carter's Kids Bailey Athletic Sneaker Running Shoe, Olive, Numeric_7 US Unisex Toddler

4. Find the Right Fit

Finding the right fit can be difficult. Make sure your child has about half an inch of space between the front of the shoe and their longest toe (which is not necessarily the big toe). You must also check that the back of the shoe isn’t too tight around the ankle.

Buying shoes for growing kids isn’t cheap, so it can be tempting when you find the right shoe to buy it in a size up and let your little one grow into it. In short: Don’t do it.

Imagine how uncomfortable it would be for you to wear shoes that were too big for you all day. Now, add in the fact that toddlers are beginner walkers. The level of discomfort you’d be putting your toddler through just isn’t worth the trouble.

Simple Joys by Carter's Unisex Kids' Anka Light Up Sneaker, Black, 6 Toddler (1-4 Years)

5. Buy for the Foot, Not the Size

Have you ever been out and found the perfect pair of shoes, in your size, and knew you had to have them without trying them on? While this can work out great for adults, it doesn’t work for our kids. Buying shoes for toddlers is an entirely different animal.

Simply put, your toddler has to try their shoes on. Take your little one shoe shopping with you. Even if the pair you bought last week worked at a certain size, every shoe is not created equally because toddler’s shoe sizes can vary from brand to brand.

Additionally, keep in mind that your child’s feet may not be exactly the same size. You’ll need to buy for the larger foot. This is another great reason to always bring your child along when shoe shopping for them.

6. No Break-In Period

How many uncomfortable pairs of shoes have you bought and thought to yourself “It’s fine. I just need to break them in”? Well, the same is not true when shopping for toddlers. Toddlers need to be able to skip the “break-in period.”

You’ll want your toddler’s shoes to be comfortable from the get go.

In order to make sure they are, have your child try on shoes wearing whatever foot cover they’ll wear regularly (socks, tights, etc. — we all know that the sock material matters). Toddler shoe sizing can be finicky, so you’ll also want to make sure that the shoe fits properly.

7. Sole Mates

Try to find shoes that have sturdy rubber soles. These will offer the highest level of comfort and practicality for your kid. It can be difficult, but you’ll need to find just the right balance of flexibility and sturdiness when it comes to shoe soles in toddler shoes.

Ballerina flats may not offer enough support to wear as an everyday shoe, but mini versions of skate shoes may have soles that are too thick and unforgiving. When it comes to buying for your toddler, you’ll want to find something that allows your little one to flex their foot easily and won’t detract from walking.

8. Is it Time to Buy?

As an adult, once you find those perfect shoes that work for every outfit and every occasion, it can be easy to forget the need to buy more. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for toddlers. We have to be vigilant as parents and keep an eye on our kids’ shoes to know if it’s time to start researching the best toddler shoes again.

Shoes that don’t fit aren’t just uncomfortable: they can cause issues like ingrown toenails and problems walking. You’ll want to keep an eye on the space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe. Make sure there aren’t any holes in the material, the tread of the shoe is wearing evenly and the sides of the shoe aren’t bulging when they’re being worn. If you notice any of these issues, it’s time to buy new shoes for your toddler.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even though it works for adults, hand-me-downs don’t work for toddlers. The best thing you can do for your kiddo is to buy them new shoes that fit well.

9. Shoe Upkeep

Kids are messy. They get dirty, and their shoes definitely go through the ringer. One thing that is important to look for when shopping for toddler shoes is their sustainability. We want our children to be able to wear shoes that allow them to splash in the mud, run in the dirt, get rough on the playground, and most importantly…

We want to be able to put those bad boys in the washer.

Having the ability to wash shoes is super important, especially when it comes to kids. Some brands even make shoes that are specifically marketed as machine washable. High quality shoes with high quality material will look great longer when you wash them periodically.

10. Quality Counts

Lastly, quality matters. We want quality in our own shoes, so there’s no reason why we wouldn’t seek quality in shoes for our kids. It’s tempting to just buy cheap shoes for toddlers because we know they outgrow them so quickly, but foot health starts with quality shoes.

Look for shoes made with materials that will stand up against wear and tear and last for as long as your toddler can wear them. Burberry Kids has an excellent line of kids’ shoes that are not only high quality but also fashionable.

Ready to Buy?

Now that you’re armed with tips to make buying shoes for toddlers a breeze, you’re probably ready to pull the trigger on some new kicks for your kiddo.

Check out our blog on how to get great shoes now and pay later.

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