Shoe shopping with kids (especially toddlers) is often a task that parents dread. But it is very important to never let a child wear a shoe that is too small for their feet!. Children’s feet are still growing and developing and many adult foot problems have their origins in poor-fitting shoes during childhood. Alternately, having your child wear a shoe that is more than a size too big can be hazardous and they are more likely to trip when walking.
Everyone knows that children’s feet grow fast, but infant feet grow the fastest of all. The best thing a parent can do for their infant’s foot development is to ensure all footwear be as non-restricting as possible.
After your toddler has begun to walk, flexibility, breathability and traction are the most important things to look for. Toddler’s feet tend to grow a shoe size or larger every three months or so, and for this reason, it is fine to buy shoes slightly larger than what your child needs. About 1/2 an inch clearance at the toe provides some growing room (roughly the width of your thumb for easy reference), but ensures they are snug enough to provide stability for wobbly walkers.
Children’s shoes can have slightly firmer soles than a toddler’s shoe, but some flexibility will help as they tear up the playground. A preschooler’s foot (between four and five) will grow at least a half a shoe size every four to five months. You can buy your child’s shoes a little large for their feet, but avoid buying shoes that are more than one size too big or the shoe will become a tripping hazard. When choosing between children’s shoe uppers, breathable materials like leather and canvas are best, as children’s feet tend to sweat a lot.