How to buy footwear for kids
A child’s first step is an occasion marked by most parents. After the occasion is celebrated, the next step would be choosing the perfect guardian the child’s foot. We dive into the dos and don’ts when buying footwear for your child.
Mum stands on one end of the room while dad squats down on the other end to receive and support as their child attempts to land the first few steps of his life. After a little stumble and trip, the child finally defies gravity and triumphs into sending his parents into overwhelming pride.
Of course, during this feat, a parent watches on with acute hawk-like sharpness to catch a fall and to offer doting support. Sadly, as much as we would want to watch over our child’s every move; we can’t really be tracking the next 500 steps they take.
This is when the time comes for the guardian of your child’s stability to be chosen - The shoe. As melodramatic as it sounds, choosing the right footwear for your child is a heavy necessity.
Footwear is bought with parents having one set of guidelines and children having an entirely different guideline in mind. Parents want a shoe that’s comfortable and stable for the child while kids’ want footwear that blinds oncoming adults with flashing LED lights.
Little do we know that the act of buying footwear for a child entrails a few other guidelines. New research has shed light to the shoe-buying act as common misconceptions of buying kids footwear are broken. We break the misconceptions as we give you some tips to buying footwear fit for royalty.
Foot notes to unhappy feet
There are a few common mistakes made when buying foot wear for children. In case the following were what you originally held as guidelines to buying kids footwear, it’s time to eliminate them before your child’s posture or walking gait is damaged.
- Buying an inappropriate size. What is not commonly understood, however, is that a shoe which is too large would also cause problems. It allows excessive motion of the foot within it, giving rise to pain and higher risks of tripping.
- Getting beginners footwear which has a thick heel or ground padding to protect the foot. Instead of protecting, the child ends up developing his walk slower as he lacks the confidence needed when they could feel the ground.
- Looking for shoes with arches. Recent studies show that among 400 Singaporean mothers, 7 out of 10 Singaporean mothers have been led to believe that they should look for shoes with arches for children under 2. This, in fact, can contribute to the delay development in the process of learning how to walk.
Understanding your child’s foot
General development by age is usually used to gauge the type or size of foot wear that one buys for their child. This “norm” does not apply to every child though. Parents need to understand that each child’s development will not strictly adhere to this framework. A child’s walking development is similar to the concept of a fingerprint - no one fingerprint will match any other. Therefore, footwear for children should be bought according to their developmental progress and not age.
Dr. Lim Kay Kiat, an Orthopaedic surgeon for Synergy Orthopaedic Group Singapore, gives theAsianparent.com team an insight to the basic objectives that parents should keep in mind when buying footwear for their child:
Baby who hasn’t started to walk yet - Buy shoes that serve to protect against the hot and cold elements.
Toddler who has started to walk - Buy shoes that serve the protective function but should also be thin and flexible enough to allow the child to feel the ground. This is to maximize the feedback they need for proper balance.
Younger Child - Only when a child grows older and heavier, does cushioning, in addition to all the other features listed above, becomes more important than before.
- Make sure your child’s shoes are fitted by a certified fitter
- Make sure shoes are measured for the correct length and width every 2-3 months until at least the age of two because children’s feet grow so quickly, in spurts and not evenly.
- Feet should be measured while standing, and always have both feet measured. Measurements will then be accurate and fit very comfortably.
Ensure that the shoe has laces or Velcro which holds the foot securely in the shoe and prevents it from slipping up, down and forward.
For babies and toddlers, the upper part of the child's shoe should be made of lightweight and breathable material such as suede, sheepskin, or canvas. These materials are preferable as young feet sweat more than adults.
Look for shoes with rounded toe boxes that allow toes to wiggle freely. Soles should be sturdy and thick enough to protect the feet from pain and injury, but the sole also needs to be flexible too so that it will bend with the foot. For babies and toddlers, shoe made of material such as suede and leather from Stride Rite.
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