Walk into a children's shoe store and you'll be bombarded with just as many colors, styles and brands as adults.
I remember thinking before I had my daughter that I couldn't wait to take her shoe shopping. But what I thought would be a fun, easy-to-decide experience, just left me baffled about what type of shoe I should buy for her.
Recently, I took my 18-month-old daughter, Maggie, to the nearest Stride Rite shoe store. I knew I wanted to get a pair of sneakers for the fall, as well as a pair of fancier shoes for her to wear with skirts and dresses. I was in awe of all the different varieties.
The salesman, with the patience of a saint, measured Maggie's foot, explained the types of things I should look for in a children's shoe and suggested a few shoes. I left the store with a pair of sneakers, dress shoes and boots!
To help you get the most out of your children's shoe-shopping experience, I gathered some important facts from Stride Rite and the American Podiatric Medical Association for you to keep in mind. Take a look:
-- Children's feet change with age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child's feet grow.
-- Shoes that don't fit properly can aggravate the feet. Always measure a child's feet before buying shoes and watch for signs of irritation.
-- Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn't mean it will fit another the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete's foot and nail fungus.
-- Examine the heels. Children may wear through the heels of the shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
-- Take your child shoe shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
-- Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
-- Buy shoes that do not need a "break-in" period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that's how they'll be worn.