Tuesday, October 4, 2011

best shoes for children

My good friend Maurina asked me a question:

"I need help with buying shoes! I know my daughter is barely learning to walk and they say barefoot is best, but at her daycare she HAS to wear shoes everyday. Now, with this being my first [child] I am all about the best and newest of everything, reading all the books, articles, etc. I just have yet to come across something telling me if it's really necessary for my daughter to wear the $40 pairs of shoes that she's going to outgrow in a month or so and that are approved by the American Pediatric Association. I mean, how much harm could it do to sneak in a Target pair every now and then?"

This is my answer:

That's a GREAT question, Maurina. First off, I'll start by saying that I am infamous among a couple of my girlfriends for never putting shoes on my girls, as infants. Even when they have super-cute outfits, I usually opt for just socks because, well, I hate putting them on again every five minutes after they kick them off! Besides, I lose so many socks and baby shoes are just about the same size, so you can imagine how many loose shoes I also have around this place. Also, my mom taught me early on that feet shouldn't be constricted and should have ample room for proper development. I carry this on into toddler-hood as well. Unless I know my early walker is actually going to be on the ground somewhere walking, I don't put shoes on her. So, trips to the store, to pick up sister and little things like that, she stays barefoot (or socks if its cold).

Enough about me. Onto the experts! To get the best insight, I would look to the American Podiatric (rather than Pediatric) Medical Association. They know all things feet. What I learned from doing a little research is first, just how important good foot care for children (babies, toddlers and older ones) is. They say that the first few years are the most critical stages of development for little feet (or feetsies as we call them in my house). They also say that for young walkers of any age, shoes are unnecessary indoors. Allowing your child to walk barefoot as much as possible encourages the healthy development of their feet. Foot musculature, strength and grasping actions of toes are important, according to their recommendations. As far as rate of foot growth, do not be surprised if you need to go up a size every 2-3 months. For proper fit, you should be able to push down and have a thumb sized space between toe and edge of shoe. Make sure you choose the proper width as well. If you take your child's shoes off and notice red marks, the shoes may not fit properly.

So, to get to your situation. Since she is a new walker, but required to wear shoes at daycare, your best bet is to look for a shoe that is lightweight, flexible and made of natural materials. This is their recommendation for proper foot care. Now, do you have to spend $40? Hopefully not! But I have to admit, I do. For shoes that I know my kids are going to wear on a daily basis, I totally splurge on Stride Rite shoes. It is what my mom did for me, and what I do for them. Although, Luciana, at the fashion-conscious age of 7, prefers style over foot health. So, I try to sneak in a good pair for her, every now and then. Will a Target pair hurt every now and then? No, I don't think anyone would say they do, as long as they fit and protect properly. But again, for consistent day use, your daughter's rapidly growing foot is best served in a shoe designed with quality in mind. Besides, you might as well indulge her possible life-long expensive shoe habit now while you still get to pick the style. I can only imagine the "shoes of the future" that our daughters will opt to wear. Glow in the dark lace-up Twinkle Toe Boots, anyone?

Baby Feet

If anyone has anything to add about their own kids shoe philosophy, please feel free!

Also, here is a link to the American Podiatric Medical Assocation's website where they list approved brands of shoes. You might be able to do some hunting to find sales? I would recommend always trying on the shoes before you buy though, so look for some local stores that carry the brands you're looking for! Good luck!


  1. Hi. I'm following from MBC. Love your blog! I do the same thing for shoes with my kids. My little girl didn't get shoes until he was walking and when we are home we take our shoes off. My little boy is 10 months and not walking yet, but soon. I did find a Stride Rite outlet store about an hour drive from here, so we go there now when we need to get new shoes. Costs much less at the outlet store, just not this year's styles. First pair at the regular store we paid about $50. Later at the outlet store, we paid $15 for her shoes.

  2. Hi Michelle! Thanks for following. :) The Stride Rite outlet store is a good idea! I didn't even think of that! My friend lives in an area with more retail option so I am sure she will be able to find one close to her. Thanks so much for the suggestion.