Shopping for kids is always a fun activity but it can get quite overwhelming when you don’t know what you're doing. Shopping for kids shoes is a lot more complicated than shopping for clothes or other accessories. A lot of parents get it wrong but with the right information, it can be easier. Some of the uncertainties involve size, style, and type of shoe. For babies, one of the most common styles of shoes is Mary Janes for Babies. Mary Jane shoes are perfect for babies because they are made specially to fit their tiny little feet to keep them comfortable. As babies grow into toddlers and start to learn to walk, their feet grow bigger, they start school etc, the kind of shoes they need changes. Below are some shopping guides to help to make shopping for kids shoes easier.

Checking for Quality

 A general rule to follow is that your child’s shoe should always have a flexible and non-skid/non-slippery sole. This will protect them when they walk around both indoors and outdoors. Also choose shoes that are made of a lightweight material such as soft faux leather, canvas or Mary Janes. These soft materials ensure that your kids' feet can breathe and move adequately. When buying, try to bend the sole with your hands to check the flexibility. If you want to go a step further, you can also check the treads of the shoes for your child. The threads should have grooves that will prevent your child from slipping, but you also need to make sure that the grooves are not so deep that they may cause your child to trip on a rug or carpet.

Checking for the Right Size

It’s always a good idea to get your toddler or baby’s feet measured frequently so you can always buy the right size of shoe for their feet. Keep in mind that kids’ feet grow pretty quickly so don’t buy too many shoes at once but buy at intervals so they don’t outgrow the shoes. You might have to replace their shoes every month because of how fast their shoes grow. When buying, if you can, you should go with your child and get him or her to stand up when trying shoes on. First, check the heel and make sure there is enough space to fit your pinky finger between your kid’s heel and the heel of the shoe. Then check the front and make sure there is a thumb-width space from the longest toe to the front of the shoe. If the shoes will be worn with socks, make sure your child tries them with socks on so you can get the sizing just right.

Checking for the Right Style


Your kids' shoes should have velcro, buckle fastening or laces to hold them in place. As a general rule, avoid backless or slip-on shoes for kids. While they may look cute, always avoid heels on children's shoes. Not only is it difficult for kids to walk in heels, they are particularly bad for proper foot development. When it comes to children's shoes, stick with flats and even soles. Do not get tempted by cute Instagram photos of eight-year-old girls wearing heels, those are done just for the photograph. It’s a lot different to make your child wear a heel like an adult all day. Look for a pattern or textured sole, as this will provide traction and help prevent your child from easily slipping on slick surfaces. Soles should be sturdy and thick enough to protect the feet from pain and injury, but the sole also needs to be flexible so that it will bend with the foot.

Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

  • *Avoid choosing a stiff, sturdy shoe to protect a toddler's feet. Stiff shoes weaken those foot muscles and could lead to more stumbling and less endurance for long walks. Instead look for a shoe that fully protects the foot from debris or rough terrain, but that has a flexible sole. To avoid this as already mentioned above, try folding the shoes in half to ensure that the shoes are flexible.

*Avoid choosing miniature versions of grown-up styles like flip-flops, kitten heels, slide-ons, and cowboy boots. Kids shoes should be designed with kids in mind and should allow kids to do what they do best which is to play and run around. Many kids shoes today, especially the styles that are smaller versions of the women's shoes, do not have the features and benefits that are important for gait development and this can cause a host of problems down the road like back pain, knee pain, and beyond. When it comes to kids, it should be comfort and functionality over fashion always. Avoid hard, tough soles and definitely avoid heels, flip-flops, high boots, and even Crocs. Look for a soft, flexible shoe that is fully attached to the foot, doesn't pass up over the ankle, and doesn't elevate the heel over the toe. If fancy shoes must be worn, limit to a few hours like at birthday parties.

*Avoid buying shoes that are slightly big with the intention that the toddlers will "grow into them." If you buy shoes that are bigger than your kids' feet it means the shoes don’t fit  which leaves your toddler vulnerable to trips and falls. Instead, have your child properly fitted at a store, or else do it yourself by download a shoe sizing chart or their measuring app from your phone. Then have your kid wear a pair that fits. Period.

Armed with these tips and new knowledge about kids shoes and how they fit and should fit, you should be able to make an informed decision when you buy shoes for your kids and also when you dress them up. These tips do come in handy this holiday season when you’re shopping for presents and also when you're dressing up for holiday parties and events with the family.

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