If you’ve recently had to buy shoes for your toddler, you know that kids feet grow fast; between the ages of 15 months and 2 years old, you can expect your child to go up half a shoe size every 2-3 months, slowing down to half a size every 3-4 months between the ages of 3 and 5. You’ll also need different shoes for different seasons and occasions, like outdoor play, winter boots, sandals and dress shoes. Finding practical, affordable and fashionable options for your child’s footwear can feel like a challenge, but following a few basic guidelines can make it easier.

Take Steps To Ensure Proper Fit

 Buying your child’s first pair of shoes can be an exciting milestone. Once your child begins standing on their own two feet, it’s important to find shoes that make walking as comfortable and easy as possible. Have your child’s feet professionally measured before buying their first pair, and each time they’re ready for a new pair of shoes. A proper fitting shoe should have a thumbs-width distance between the tip of the shoe and your child’s big toe. You may be tempted to size up when buying your child new shoes to avoid having to repurchase another pair in just a few months, but proper fit is important, and shoes that are too big can be unsafe. It’s also important to find shoes that provide adequate arch support for the developing ligaments in your child’s foot.

Pay Attention To Materials

While your child may be going through new shoes fast, it’s still important to make sure shoes are durable and well-made. Adventurous toddlers can wear their shoes out quickly as they wander the playground and splash in puddles on the sidewalk. You also want to make sure that the sole of the shoe is not too slick and provides traction to prevent your child from slipping. A rubber or leather sole can help prevent accidents. You’ll also want to select shoe materials based on the purpose of the footwear. For sandals or summer shoes, porous, breathable materials can keep your child’s feet from sweating. In the winter, water-resistant boots with lining help keep your child’s feet warm and dry.

Consider Your Child’s Input

If your child loves wearing their shoes, it can make it much faster and easier to get out the door. Find shoes that your child is excited to wear. Many of your favorite childhood shoe trends, such as light-up shoes, skate shoes and jelly shoes, are coming back in style, and you’ll be delighted to find your child may love these styles just as much as you did. If your child has a favorite color, pattern or character, you can probably find them on a pair of shoes. Letting your child participate in choosing their own clothing helps foster a sense of independence and self-expression, which builds the framework for healthy confidence.

Shoe shopping can be a fun experience for you and your child to share, and finding the right shoes helps keeps your child comfortable and safe while staying active. Eventually, your child’s feet will stop growing, usually in their teen years or early twenties. But until growth slows down, it’s okay to choose cost-effective options, as long as they fit well and protect your child’s feet.

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