Kids grow like weeds, and if you’re like me, you’re buying your children new shoes at least once or twice per year. I live in an area where we can wear sandals year-round, but schools usually require sneakers for gym class and sometimes as part of the school uniform, so every summer, we troop out to try on tennis shoes. Since ill-fitting sneakers can cause blisters and even toe deformities in growing feet, here are some important tips to keep in mind for getting new shoes that fit:
- Have your child wear the socks that she’ll be wearing with the sneakers. The disposable socks that shoe stores provide are very thin, and most kids wear thicker socks. This can greatly impact fit, so don’t forget!
- Get them measured properly. Take your kids to a shoe store where the salesperson will measure their feet. Ask him to measure both feet, as sometimes one foot will be larger, and you need to find shoes that fit the larger foot (if there’s a big difference, you can buy pads or liners to take up some of the room).
- Have your child try on shoes in the size recommended, but also in the next size up and down. Each shoe manufacturer has a slightly different sizing method, so don’t get too caught up on the number on the box.
- Make sure that your child can wiggle her toes with the shoes on. Press down on the front of the shoe to be sure that she has about a half-inch of space between the tips of her toes and the front of the shoe.
- Watch her walk, making sure that there is some space between her heel and the back of the shoe. If it fits too closely, it could rub and cause calluses, blisters or other irritation.
- Never buy new shoes that are a bit snug in anticipation that they’ll stretch out.
- Also, resist the temptation to buy shoes that are too big in anticipation that your child will grow into them. She will eventually grow into them, but in the meantime, they won’t be providing proper support and can even be a safety hazard.
Sneakers for kids can be expensive, but try to buy shoes of a good quality; not only will they last longer, but they’ll be more gentle to your child’s feet and less likely to cause irritation. One way to save money on shoes is to buy on clearance or at outlets. We have a Nike outlet near us that offers very good prices on sneakers for both adults and kids. Another way is to try on shoes at a store, then to order online, using a discount or coupon code. Every year Stride Rite runs an incredible back to school sale and as long as you are ready to brave the long lines you can get great deals.
What are your best tips for saving money on new shoes?