Everybody remembers the trip to the shoe store as a child- the glee that came with an increase in shoe size was equivalent of being promoted to a new grade! Toddler shoes come in different sizes and styles, with brighter colours being used to market shoes to your younger ones. While your toddler, who is ever-growing so quickly may get attracted to shoes with a certain cartoon or other eye-catching traits, here are 11 things to remember while choosing toddler shoes for your little ones.
Toddler Shoes Guide: 11 Tips to Remember
They must fit well
Perhaps the most important objective of buying toddler shoes is to make sure that they fit well. It must be kept in mind that toddlers are still developing their body balance, and the shoes that you buy must aid instead of serving as a hindrance. The arch of the foot must be well supported, and the shoe must be a right for for the girth. Remember to measure the width of your child’s feet, and have a fitting with socks on. A good fit would have enough space to wiggle around (which is about half an inch from the tip of the shoe) and no pinching from the heel or the sides.
Measure feet before buying
Children form bones in their feet at a much later stage in life- the feet mostly composed of cartilage that is extremely malleable. This malleability means that your little one could squeeze his feet into a smaller pair, and it would seem to be the right fit. Make sure that you measure your child’s feet well, or let a trained professional choose the right pair for your child. Keep in mind that your toddler’s feet could vary in size, as one foot could be bigger than the other, so do accommodate that.
A tight fit would lead to squash your child’s toes and lead to bunion joints, and a bigger pair could lead to gripping on toes to regain balance, resulting in ‘claw toes’. Also, avoid buy shoes advance in size, hoping that your child will grow into them. Lose shoes could make them off-balance and prone to accidents.
Provide breathing space
Further drawing from the previous point, the shoes you choose must have ample breathing space for your little one’s feet. Many kids have sweaty feet, and shoes that are not breathable could lead to the accumulation of bacteria, leading to irritation and other skin diseases including toenail fungus. The material used in shoes plays a key role in this, so choose toddler shoes made from canvas and leather, and materials that incorporate mesh. Also, check for breathing panels in your toddler’s shoes, to prevent the accumulation of sweat.
Well Securing Mechanism
This is perhaps the most important point to remember while choosing shoes for your toddler! Avoid slip-ons and flip flops, as your child could easily slip off them while engaging in a physical activity outdoors. The shoes must have a well-securing mechanism, in the form of laces or even Velcro. This not only keeps the feet in place, but it can also be adjusted to allow some flexibility.
Shoes that are flexible are of crucial importance. This is because toddlers are still learning the art of walking, and have the tendency to lose balance quite easily. The flexibility in shoes allows them to develop this skill faster. The shoes you purchase for your toddler should be able to bend in your hand. Look for rubber soles in the shoes, and try to avoid shoes made from plastic and are stiff. Flexible shoes allow them to gain traction on ground, and develop those tiny muscles that could enable them to learn to walk faster! Shoes made from leather and canvas could also serve this purpose.
It must be kept in mind that shoes with a hard sole could make the process of walking quite difficult for your small child. This is because children have malleable feet, do not have the necessary bone strength to bend a hard sole, and this effort could delay the development of the skill in the first place. It is thus recommended that toddlers should wear shoes with soft soles that provide a cushioning effect to feet, especially when your toddler is still learning how to walk and run.
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An added function to flexibility, the shoes you choose for your toddler must be lightweight. The purpose is to enable your child to grow his muscles, and lightweight shoes simply aid in this process by complementing the natural feel. Shoes that hinder your child’s activity is the last thing you want.
Avoid heavily-built shoes
A hard soled shoe might often be the desired, especially when you are choosing shoes for a toddler who is active outdoors. But a hard soled, the heavy arched shoe might just be contradictory to your toddler’s foot development. Since most of these shoes provide heavy support, children are not forced to use their leg muscles to engage in any activity. This could serve as a hindrance to your child’s foot development that would otherwise occur naturally.
The purpose of shoes, especially for toddlers, is to protect their sensitive feet from sharp objects, dirt, slippery surfaces and other environmental stimulants that could otherwise lead to an accident. Make sure that the shoes you buy protect his feet from water and other agents that could cause harm to his feet and skin.
Replace worn out shoes
It is a common practice to make your younger ones fit into handing me downs, passed from older siblings and other family members. However, unlike clothes, shoes cannot be easily washed to remove germs and other bacteria that could still be residing in an old pair. This holds true for shoes of a comparatively larger size that you hope your child will grow into. Try to replace worn out shoes as regularly as possible, and avoid old pairs in general, to maintain your child’s foot hygiene.
Avoid Fashion Trends
This could be an obstacle when it comes to choosing shoes for your child. More often than not, buying of shoes can be an exercise that often falls prey to fashionable shoes that would look adorable on your little one’s feet, but in hindsight could be a disaster in the making. The purpose of purchasing such shoes in the first place is to protect your child’s feet and help him walk. Always place functionality and practicality before getting swayed by more attractive toddler shoes.
While it is of crucial importance to buy the perfect fit for your toddler, it is suggested by paediatricians that your toddler learns to walk best when barefoot, so avoid shoes in general, especially when he is learning how to walk. Shoes come into the picture when your toddler is outdoors, and they must be complementary to the feeling of being barefoot. Also, do remember to choose shoes that fit your purpose- if your toddler is extremely active in sports, search for shoes that support yet provide enough flexibility to aid in his or her growth. And do not be hesitant to change your toddler’s shoes, when you deem the right to be right!
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