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Buying shoes for young children is a minefield for any parent, but buying shoes for toddler boys can be a real balancing act – you want to make sure that the shoe is comfortable, breathable and supportive to aid healthy foot growth, but you also want the shoe to be robust enough to cope with the demands of an inquisitive and active young boy!
As a mother of a young boy myself and a specialist in footwear technology, I have put together a check-list of the most important factors to consider when buying shoes for boys.
Things to consider when buying toddler boys shoes
- The shoes must fit! – Ensure that you take your child to be professionally measured and then fitted. Before buying shoes, encourage your child to run around the store and get their feet as warm as possible before being measured. This will cause their feet to expand so that the fit and growth room can be assessed more accurately. If shopping on-line some of the better websites offer free advice as well as authoritative measuring and fitting guides in case you do want to avoid the hassle of the high street or shopping mall with your children on tow!
- Support – The shoe or boot must offer good support to the foot, ankle and leg. At this stage of development the whole body is growing at a tremendous rate. Wearing poorly supporting shoes now can lead to foot and back problems later in life.
- Comfort – The shoes need to be comfortable and have soft upper materials and flexible soles that do not restrict the movement of the foot or muscle development. Try and choose styles that have padded linings, particularly around the ankle and padded inner soles.
- Breathable – Shoes made of leather uppers and lining are the best for children’s hot active feet as they allow cool air to enter and hot humid air to escape. This produces the best possible environment for growing feet and reduces the risk of smelly shoes and bacterial infections. Shoes with textile linings are also okay for the foot, but I would try to avoid shoes made of synthetic uppers and linings as these offer no breathability and moisture cannot escape.
- Flexible – The sole must be fairly flexible, particularly for first walkers as this will help the muscles in the foot develop.
- Adjustment – Toddler shoes must have plenty of strap adjustment so that the shoe is safely and securely on the foot. Ensure straps are not pulled too tightly as this will restrict growth. Return Velcro fastenings are ideal for toddler boys as taking shoes on and off is much easier and quicker!
- Robust – As I mentioned in my introduction, toddler boy shoes need to be able to withstand robust usage. Look for styles that have sturdy soles with big ‘bumpers’ at the front. Such outer protection not only gives the foot extra layers of defence but also limits shoe damage and scuffing in case the child uses their toes as a brake whilst on a scooter or bike.
- Fun! – As well as the above, make sure you’re kids shoes are fun and attractive! All too often we put our kids in dull brown or black shoes. Instead let them wear fun and colourful footwear and enjoy the fact they are young, bright and active boys!
- On-Line Shopping – This can take the hassle out of shopping as you avoid the queues and children are often not quite as patient as you when it comes to hanging around in crowded shops! If you do decide to buy shoes on-line make sure the retailer you use provides good advice and can recommend a quality brand most suited to your child’s feet. Always check out their returns policy and ensure it allows you to send back your purchase for a replacement or refund should the fit not be suitable.
write by Alan Gill