My 2-year-old’s everyday shoe was a little snug going on last week. I felt embarrassed to not have noticed that her feet were outgrowing her current pool of shoe options. What kind of podiatrist-mommy am I? Filled with nostalgia, I packed into storage her pink leather Mary Janes and waterproof Keens, and sweetly recalled the fun times and darling outfits those shoes saw. But I was quickly jolted back to reality as I realized my kid needs shoes, stat!
Unlike school-aged children who typically get new shoes with the start of school in the fall, toddler shoe-shopping is a year-round process, since those little tootsies grow so fast! In a year, a toddler can grow through more than two whole shoe sizes.
To choose the appropriate size, it’s best to bring your child and have them measured. I think that idea alone can make a parent procrastinate! Buying the next size up is usually fine, but do be sure to try it on before committing, as different brands fit differently. If I can find a time to shop without my kiddo, I like to bring the outgrown shoe with me for comparison. Many toddler shoes now have removable insoles that can be held to the foot to determine correct sizing, or to a new shoes insole for comparison. With the shoe on and the child standing, you should be able to push your thumb down between the toe tip and the end of the shoe. (This is a good rule of “thumb” for adults, too.)
For toddlers, I recommend a shoe style with ample room and a fairly flexible outer sole. Some foot bones don’t even form till age four or five, so choosing shoes that aren’t too rigid or conforming will allow the foot to develop naturally.
As much money as we spend to outfit our little bundles of joy, it’s tempting to use hand-me-down shoes. But a pre-owned shoe may not have as much life it in as you’d think, especially if you can spot wear and tear on the outer sole and compression of the inner sole. Also, sharing shoes can promote the spread of microorganisms that cause fungus and warts.
Unsure if your toddler’s wearing the right kicks? Wondering if he or she has inherited your great aunt’s terribly flat feet? Bring your kiddos for a quick visit at your friendly, family podiatrist. At Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, we offer free consults for children under 12.
You can contact us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.