Shoe shopping with a baby or young child can be a trying experience, but there are ways to make the trip a much smoother one. Here are some tips and facts to help your “adventure” be productive and (mostly) hassle free.
- If possible, avoid the weekends to do your shopping. Weekday mornings are the best time to hit the malls– the stores are quiet, the employees tend to have more time to attend to you, and new shipments of merchandise often arrive in the morning. However, if you are only able to shop on the weekends, be prepared to face busy stores, crazed salespeople, screaming children (and sometimes screaming parents), and keep in mind it may take longer than usual to shop.
- Shopping with children, especially for shoes, can be a lengthy process. This is particularly true if you have multiple children with you, if they are young, or if the store is really crowded. Coming prepared with some snacks (that aren’t too messy), a coloring book, or something else to occupy the kids with can be helpful.
- Some babies and young children can be difficult to measure using the Brannock, a device used by shoe stores to measure feet. One solution is to take a piece of paper and draw an outline of the baby or child’s foot at home. Sales associates can cut the outline out and hold it up to the Brannock to get an idea of what size shoe the child needs. Another option is that there are some store websites, such as StrideRite.com that have printable measuring systems available for you to use at home. Otherwise, if your child is fussy or does not like the Brannock, you can try to help soothe them by taking them in your lap, or measure their feet yourself with the aid of a sales associate.
- If your children are toddles or a bit older, include them in the choosing of the shoes. Pick out a few different pairs of shoes and make sure there are available sizes (it’s not pretty when a child has their heart set on a particular pair of shoes and there are no sizes left), and then show your child the options.
- Retail stores are always a season ahead. Meaning that spring items become available while it’s still snowing. So when shopping for snow boots for the kids, you have to start looking in the fall, which also means buying the boots a couple of sizes bigger. The same is true for sandals– Easter is a good time to begin scouting out the sandal scene. If you want a seasonal item during the actual season, there won’t be too much left. This is especially true when it comes to children’s shoes.
- It’s important to ensure your child is getting the right pair of shoes for their feet. Purchasing a pair of shoes that fit well and provide the right comfort is the key to having your child grow up with healthy feet. Babies go through different stages as they grow. When they are very young, there is no need to buy shoes with a lot of support, because babies’ arches have not yet fully developed. They are fine in a pair of socks or soft Robeez. Once a baby begins to take their first steps, it’s time to buy more supportive shoes. And it’s necessary to buy shoes that are half a size bigger than your child’s actual foot size. Children need extra room to grow. As babies, their feet grow about every three to four months. As they get older, their feet don’t grow as quickly and most kids grow out of their shoes every four to six months. One last thing to keep in mind– don’t be alarmed if you take your child to get new shoes and it turns out they need shoes two sizes bigger– shoes tend to stretch.
- Different brands of shoes run in all different sizes just as jeans do. For instance, the brand Saucony tends to run smaller in its bigger sizes, meaning if you were to buy a size 5 in a boys shoe, you may wind up needing to buy a size 5.5 or 6 because of how small Saucony shoes run. Kamik Snowboots for children have also been running small. Other brands run bigger. So ask the salesperson how the shoe sizes have been running.
- One last fact– a child’s size 4 is a women’s size 6, meaning adult women’s shoe sizes are two sizes bigger than children’s. So if you are an adult women who wears a size 5 or 6 or even 7, you may fit into children’s shoes as well. (Men’s shoes are two sizes bigger than women’s).