How to Buy Shoes for Children

While purchasing clothing for children is mainly a cosmetic pursuit, the shoes you choose for children can affect their overall health. Shoes affect their balance and alignment, and improperly fitted shoes can lead to lifelong health problems. Use this guide the next time you have to buy shoes for children.


  1. Image titled Buy Shoes for Children Step 1
    Choose a shoe store with service personnel to help you buy your children's shoes. A store specializing in children's footwear should have experienced and knowledgeable staff.
  2. Image titled Buy Shoes for Children Step 2
    Have the salesperson measure your child's feet. When measuring, your child must stand up straight with his or her socks snug around the feet. This will help ensure a comfortable fit.
  3. Image titled Buy Shoes for Children Step 3
    Check to make sure there is about 0.5-to-0.65 inches (1.5 cm-to-2 cm) of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. This space allows the toes to spread out for better comfort and stability.
  4. Image titled Buy Shoes for Children Step 4
    Push down on the "vamp" (front of the shoe). It should not be tight over the top of the foot and allow some space for movement.
  5. Image titled Buy Shoes for Children Step 5
    Put your finger between the back of the shoe and your child's foot, along the heel. Your finger should fit snugly between your child's heel and the back of the shoe.
    • Friction between the shoe's back and your child's heel will cause blisters over time. If the shoe back fits too loosely, it's likely to come off during normal wear and can cause gait problems as the child will overcompensate.
    • The back of the shoe against the ankle and heel should be firm and preferably made of plastic. Softer materials will break down and won't help keep your child's foot locked into the shoe. This can lead to loose, floppy shoes or an awkward gait while walking.
  6. Image titled Buy Shoes for Children Step 6
    Flex your child's foot at the ankle from side to side. Shoes that rub against the ankle can cause blisters, calluses or contribute to foot injury. Friction may be caused by shoes that are too large or bulky for your child's foot and leg.
  7. Image titled Buy Shoes for Children Step 7
    Press the outer side of your child's shoe to feel for your child's little toe. You should be able to feel the toe, not pressed firmly against the shoe wall, but able to flex within. The fit is too small if the toe presses against the shoe wall.
  8. Image titled Buy Shoes for Children Step 8
    Look at the inside arch of the shoe. There should be an "arch support"--a contoured piece to fit your child's foot. The slope of the arch should start at the base of your child's big toe.

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