Dressing Your Child: Buying Shoes For Kids

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This is part of the Dressing Your Child series. You can read the other installment on shopping for kids here.

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There’s more to dressing a child than pretty bows and charming neckties.

We’ve been dressing our boys for years and now that we have a daughter, everyone assumes we’re excited to dress her. Some have made reference to our daughter being a doll and how we should dress her in bows and such.

All this sounds great until you realize there’s more to dressing your child. In fact, comfort is more important than looks.

Introducing Shoes To A Baby

Choosing clothing items for a child can be exciting. Yes, there is a variety of inspiration throughout social media websites like Pinterest and Instagram. However, there are things to consider when buying shoes for kids.

Here are three things you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing the right shoes:

  1. The shape of your child’s foot;
  2. The type of arch they have; and
  3. The child’s stage of development.

In terms of their developmental stage, the best thing to do is to not put crib shoes on your child. This allows the little one’s feet to properly form and gives your child the freedom to feel the world around them.

We used to let the boys roam the playground without shoes when they started walking. It was like an adventure for them. To this day they prefer wandering around the house barefoot.

The first pair we introduced to our boys were made for walking. We picked them up from Target. You can see the girl version they have available here. There are other toddler shoes available at Target.com.

Dressing your child means more than finding great-looking clothes. It means taking the time to dress their personality as well. These tips on buying shoes for kids will help you with finding the right pair for your child.

Tips To Buying Shoes For Kids

Finding the right shoe size means choosing a size or two bigger than the size of their foot.

By choosing the bigger size, you can allow their feet to breathe and move as they walk.

Quick trick: Press your thumb on the top of your child’s shoe. If you can feel their big toe on the center of your thumb, then it might last them a month/month and a half. If you feel the big toe on top of your thumb, it will last about three/four months.

There are additional factors to buying shoes for kids. You should always consider its durability. For us, it’s whether or not the product is machine washable. Whenever you have the option, go with machine washable.

It’s something we always recommend when purchasing shoes for kids. This will make your life easier with children. We wash them weekly, which allows them to stay in good condition.

Finding The Right Fit When Buying Shoes

Every child is different, and it’s no surprise to see that they also have different shaped feet. Our oldest has long toes and feet, while our second child has wider feet with round toes.

Sharing their shoes with each other can be tough. Not only do they have different shaped toes and feet, but they have different personalities as well. Certain shoes don’t fit our youngest son’s everyday life. He’s the sporty kid who loves wearing sneakers.

When buying shoes for the children, we consider their personalities and how they will use their sneakers. One will opt to wear his often, and the other will want to wear a variety throughout the week.

Our second child often wears shoes that have a wide fit, and are easier to put on. Our firstborn prefers to wear simple shoes throughout the week and switches it up on the weekend.

Although it’s a good idea to test where your child’s toes reach on a shoe, it’s also a good idea to look at how they feel on the sides. You can do this by measuring one foot to the opposite shoe. Look how the shoe fits horizontally on your child’s foot.

How To Test The Grip Of The Shoe

Another feature to consider when looking for kids’ shoes is to feel the threads at the bottom. The bottom of the shoe should feel thick. To make sure the shoe is non-slip, slide your hand up and down. If you feel there is traction, then the shoe has a good grip. If the bottom of the shoe doesn’t have traction, then you will feel your hand easily glide through from top to bottom.

This is something to consider when using hand-me-downs. Used shoes can sometimes lose their traction and it will only create issues for the child who wears it. When shoes are worn down, we throw them out or donate them to a local dog shelter as chew toys.

When considering your child’s arch, you want to look for kids’ shoes that have flexibility in that area. Most converse shoes are worn as dressy sneakers because they are harder to walk in for a developing child. We buy a pair of dressy sneakers and play shoes for our little ones at least twice a year.

What tricks do you have for buying shoes for kids? Share them below!


  1. omg i go through so many pairs of shoes with my son. Its crazy how fast they grow.

  2. These are such great tips to think about before buying shoes. This is a helpful guide, thanks for sharing!

  3. We just had to buy my 10m old his first pair of shoes. Wish I would have had this before I bought them.

  4. These are great tips! I have two boys and show buying can be challenging sometimes

  5. I will have to remember all of this info for when I have children of my own.

  6. Shopping for shoes for kids is such a challenge. Thanks for all these useful tips!

  7. You’re right, the grip and the kid’s foot shape really matters when it comes to buying their shoes. And it’s best to have your child with you when buying it. Thanks for the tips..!

  8. Love your tips! They could be so useful for any parent. I remember how I was wondering what shoes to buy for my kiddos one time in my life.

  9. Thanks for the tips..! It would be really frustrating to buy a shoe that doesn’t fit the kid.

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been struggling with finding the “right” shoes.

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