01962 866592

Shoe Buying Guide

It's really important that children's shoes are well fitted, comfortable and provide ample room for growth. As members of the Society of Shoe Fitters we care passionately about the development of children's feet so that's why all our staff are trained and experienced fitters and we don't work to targets or time limits.

If possible, we would always recommend that children's shoes are fitted in store by an experienced fitter however we understand that this is not always possible and some parents are very able and comfortable fitting their own children's shoes at home.

This guide answers some of the most common questions asked in store which we hope both our in-store and online customers will find helpful.

When should my child start wearing shoes?

This may sound like strange advice coming from a shoe shop but try and leave it as long as possible! Walking barefoot is really important for new walkers as it allows the muscles in the feet to develop and strengthen. The need for shoes comes when children start to walk outside and protection is needed. Try and choose a shoe that is soft and flexible and won't feel heavy or cumbersome to the new walker.

My child hates having their feet measured, is there anything I can do?

Yes, keep taking them in to get measured! This is a really common problem and the more a child visits their local store the quicker they will understand that it isn't something to be scared off. Pick a time when you child isn't tired or hungry and the shop is quiet.

My child only wants to wear crocs and wellies - is this ok?

Children love crocs and wellies as they are so easy to put on and off and great for playing in but we don't recommend that they are worn all the time. They are not fitted shoes and being made from synthetic materials they don't allow feet to breathe in the same way as leather shoes do. However, having said that, they are great for occasional wear but don't be tempted to buy too big as children tend to scrunch up their toes to keep them in place.

I visited three different shops and was given three different measurements. I was then sold a totally different sized shoe!

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, there is no standardization amongst manufacturers and measuring devices are all calibrated differently! The important thing to remember is that the measure is only a guide and provides the fitter with a starting point. A fitter will then use his or her experience to find the correct sized shoe for the shape of the child's foot. Shoes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with some better suited to narrow or wider feet.

Any tips on buying school shoes?

It's hard to get excited about buying school shoes as they tend to all look very similar and are black but they are probably the most important shoes that a child owns. School shoes are often worn for up to 10 hours a day and poorly fitted shoes can really affect a child's mood at school. We would always recommend that school shoes are made of leather, to allow feet to breathe, and are fitted with ample room for growth.

Where possible, don't leave buying your school shoes until the day before a new term starts. Shoe shops will be at their busiest and you may not get your first choice of shoe. It's also important that new shoes are worn around the house for a few days before wearing them out. Children often complain that new school shoes feel stiff but this is not surprising when they have been wearing crocs and sandals all summer. Also, by only wearing shoes indoors, if there are any problems with the fit, they can be taken back and exchanged.

If your child does develop a blister then cover it with a compeed plaster and return to the shop to get the fit checked. Some children are simply more prone to blisters than others and, provided the fit is correct, their new shoes will take a little longer to wear in.

How long should my children's shoes last?

We always fit shoes with a thumbs width of growing room on the length and a comfortable fit on the width. With new walkers and toddlers we then recommend that shoes are checked again every six to eight weeks. School age children will often let parents know when shoes start to feel tight but it's probably still best to get them checked at least once a term. Don't be tempted to buy shoes that are too big as they can be cumbersome and cause children to trip and fall.

Looking after shoes will also prolong their life. All shoes should be cleaned regularly and leather shoes should be sprayed every four weeks with a waterproof protector. Children should be reminded to put shoes on properly using fastenings as intended - six year old boys many need reminding more than once!