We were so excited when the babes started walking. Not only would it make life easier, it also meant that we could go and buy them some cute shoes (oh, and obviously it was a major Proud Mum moment) Except there seems to be a distinct lack of nice looking shoes out there for first walkers. Much like ‘cool’ breastfeeding outfits, the concept of first walker shoes seem very old fashioned. Very few stores are knowledgeable on how to fit our kids first shoes correctly and there also seems to be the usual problem where brands think that girls wear pink and boys wear blue….
After discussing this on Instagram, it seems you guys also struggled with this. So we thought that we’d do some digging…
Gemma took Belle to Westfield for a shopping sesh. She visited 3 different specialist kids shoe stores, plus a big chain shoe store that had a piece of paper stuck in the window that stated ‘We fit children/toddler shoes.’ Each store measured Belle’s feet and came back with a different size – slightly frustrating! After trying to balance Belle’s foot on a flat mat with a shoe gauge, the ‘expert’ in the big chain store said, ‘She’s roughly between a 3 and a 4 so I guess you could put her in either and it won’t make a difference.’ #FacePalm.
Clarks came out on top. The lady was knowledgeable and shared lots of information about how to find the correct shoes. She measured her length and width. Obviously a main concern of ours (and yours) is about whether the babes can wear ‘cool’ shoes and she said as long as they had a thumbs width at the end, were light weight enough and made with a breathable fabric then that was OK. So a shoe like these Nike’sis perfectly acceptable!
So our top tip when it comes to first shoes? Do what we do; get a not so pretty pair from the specialist shoe shop for daily life as they do so much walking and running at nursery and get a cooler pair for weekend special outings/birthday parties etc. Belle will be in her Nikes while Leo rocks his baby Stan Smiths.
The brands we like for ‘proper’ first shoes are Start Rite(they do some scuff resistant styles, great for damage limitation)Bobux(Sam got Leo’s first pair from here)and Clarks(these areLeo’s second pair).
This website is also worth a visit for perusing different brands too.
These are the general rules when it comes to shoe buying for the babes:
When should I buy my baby’s first shoes?
It’s tempting to hot foot it to the nearest shoe shop the minute your little one starts cruising, but according to The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, they don’t actually need proper shoes until they’ve been walking confidently for several weeks. "A child doesn’t need shoes until he or she is starting to walk outside," agrees Julian Livingstone, consultant podiatrist at Barnet General Hospital.
Can I just buy them online?
As tempting as it is, no. A properly fitted shoe should support the arch and be unrestricted around the toes, allowing them to splay on contact with the ground, which happens when walking. A trained fitter will be able to judge whether the arch is receiving the right level of support and whether the style of shoe is right for the girth of the child’s foot, the heel shape and the foot’s proportions.
How often should I get my baby’s feet re-measured?
Babies’ feet grow fast – up to two sizes a year until they’re around four years old. So get your little one re-measured in a shop every 6-8 weeks. An easy way to check if its time for a new pair of shoes: there should be around a thumb’s width between the front of the shoe and your baby’s big toe. If their toes are hitting the front, it’s time for a new pair. After you’ve had the initial fitting in a store, you can buy this shoe gauge as you may find it easier doing the measuring at home then take them in store to try out a pair.
Happy shoe shopping!!