I have a confession; I am not a shoe girl. I know this makes me an outcast among my fellow females but… I’m also not a handbag girl.
That’s a double whammy right there. I’ll give you a minute to take it all in…
Well, now that we’ve gotten past that ugly bit of truth, I have to tell you that despite being the only girl on the planet that doesn’t covet shoes and handbags, I do like shopping for kids’ shoes.
Back to school time is probably the most popular time for kids shoe shopping and it probably makes other parents stabby but for me, it’s fine day in the neighborhood.
I’ve always liked shopping for kids’ shoes, especially when the kids were babies (I LOVE baby shoes). I wish they would’ve stayed little just so I could keep buying baby shoes (but that quickly drove my husband crazy: “What do they need all these shoes for?! They don’t even walk!”) Whatever. He didn’t get it. Cute little babies in cute little shoes… Bliss.
But I get it, some parents aren’t loving back to school shoe shopping. Because of that, I’ve put together some tips to help you get through the task of buying kids’ shoes with a little less stress.
Back to School Kids Shoe Shopping Tips
- Always take your child with you to buy their shoes. It seems like it would be easier to leave them at home, especially if you know they’re size but trust me, having them with you will save you a second trip to the shoe store later.
- Measure your child’s feet. This goes without saying (and it’s also why you want them with you) but all shoes fit differently. In order to get a proper fit, you need to measure their feet.
- Make sure they walk around in the shoes before buying them. This can be difficult because shoe stores like to tie the shoes together so that when you walk in them, you walk like a prisoner in chains and shackles but have your child do it anyway. If you can, get a sales person to snip the tie so your child can walk, run, etc.
- Let your child have a couple of choices. Pick out a pair that you like and let them pick out a pair that they like. Often just having the option makes the buying process easier for both of you. If you come to a stalemate then shoot for a compromise (maybe a third pair that you both like). And if you can get both pairs of shoes… AWESOME. Everyone wins.
- Don’t overspend. Remember that baby shoe habit of mine? Yeah, kids (and babies) outgrow shoes quickly so your child might only get to wear the shoes a time or two before they outgrow them.
- I bet you didn’t know this but try doing your shoe shopping in the evening. Feet swell during the day (Just ask me. I start out with ankles every morning but by 3pm, I don’t know where they went to). Because even a child’s feet swell, you will want to know how a shoe fits at the end of the day when their feet have gotten “bigger” and this is important because at school they spend 6-7 hours in those shoes.
- A lot of schools now have dress codes that include rules on shoes. Find out what restrictions there might be. For instance, our school says no flip flops and sandals must be worn with socks because of the mulch on the playground. Some schools might require non-skid soles or soles that won’t leave black marks on the gym floors.
- Leave about a half inch to an inch of growth for your child’s feet inside the shoes. A shoe that is too big may cause them to trip and fall. A shoe that is too tight or not enough room can pinch, hurt or leave blisters.
- It doesn’t hurt to have a back up pair of shoes at school for your child. Our school asks that we bring a pair of shoes just for gym and leave them in their classroom cubbies.
- It’s tempting but don’t hand down shoes. Not to your friends, friends of friends or your husband’s cousin’s sister on his mother’s side. Everyone’s feet are different and after someone has worn a shoe for awhile, the shoes do tend to shape to their feet. Handed down shoes won’t give a proper fit to your child.
- Don’t be afraid to buy online. You might find a better deal on the shoes you and your child loved in the store. If you buy shoes online for your child, still be sure to measure the feet and find out what kind of return policy there is. Many online shoe stores have sizing guides and details on how to measure and fit your child’s feet.
With these rules in mind, I know that my back to school shoe shopping will be easier (and hopefully yours too). There’s room in my rules for fit, function and fashion (very important I’ve heard when you have a teenage girl who DOES love shoes). Remember to make it fun for your child. New shoes are pretty awesome (even for someone who isn’t a shoe girl).
This is a post sponsored by Barrats kids shoes. All opinions and love of shoe shopping with my kids but not for myself are my own.
image credit: awitikoski