Yes, it’s true. The pens, pencils and backpacks are already in stores waiting for the 2016 school year to begin. For some kids, that day is just around the corner, as schools in states such as Florida are heading back as early as mid-August.
Next to the must-have notebook with the cast of “Frozen” on the cover, a new pair of shoes is on top of the list of school supplies and gear. For parents starting to plan out their shopping strategy, here are some tips for shoe shopping.
1. Never assume your child’s shoe size. Growing feet never take a break. Make sure a sales associate measures the foot each and every time you shop for an accurate read.
2. When shopping in a big-box store, check your child’s foot size before heading out. There are measuring charts available online that can easily be printed out. Retail chain Famous Footwear makes it easy to measure feet with a chart and instructions online.
3. Check with your child’s school for any specific footwear requirements. Often, younger children may be required to wear closed-up shoes, so don’t waste money on a pair of sandals even if you live in a warmer climate.
4. Since it’s still technically summer when school begins, regardless of the area of the country, start out with lighter-weight footwear. There are lots of styles in canvas or nylon mesh for added breathability.
5. Since kids’ feet often sweat, look for styles that incorporate anti-microbial linings that wick away moisture. They might cost a bit more, but they are a healthier and more comfortable option.
6. A pair of waterproof boots should be on everyone’s shopping list. While it doesn’t snow all over the U.S., it does rain. And if the snow is not piled too high, these looks can easily do double duty.
7. For those who prefer shopping on the Internet, find sites that don’t carry shipping charges. It might take a few tries before you find the right size for your child, so make sure you’re not stuck with return shipping fees.
8. Don’t buy shoes too large, thinking your child will soon grow into them. A shoe that’s too big is just as uncomfortable as one that’s too small.
9. For boys age 7 and older, school shoes typically mean a new pair of sneakers. To avoid disappointment by not finding the latest performance style, shop as early as you can.
10. Don’t forget socks. Most underestimate the power of a cushioned sock. It can turn up the comfort level of just about any shoe.