Why You Should Buy Your Kids’ Shoes in a Store, According to a Podiatrist

Today’s busy parents are increasingly turning to the internet to do their shopping — from buying groceries  to appliances. But, shopping for kids’ shoes should be left to the expertise of a shoe fitting specialist in a brick-and-mortar store, according to New York-based sports podiatrist Lori Weisenfeld.

“I have parents who bring in with their kids [complaining] of pain in their toes or ingrown toe nails,” said Weisenfeld. “It can be that the shoe is too small. Kids grow quickly.”

According to Weisenfeld, children, especially those just beginning to walk, can’t typically speak up about the fit of their shoes. “They may not have the vocabulary to explain what’s going on,” she said.

While parents may think achieving a proper fit means simply checking for the  right length, they need to think again. There are a range of considerations when fitting a child for shoes. “It’s important to know if your kid has flat feet, or feet that turn in or out,” explained Weisenfeld, while some children pronate and therefore may require additional support in their shoes. “It’s important to have children evaluated by someone who can check their foot type and direct you to the right shoe, and also important to have a professional such as a podiatrist check them out.”

Weisenfeld emphasized since not every shoe in the same size fits the same fit from brand to brand, or even within a brand, ordering online has its pitfalls. “Without proper quality control we never really know what the size is,” said Weisenfeld, about leaving these variances to the experience of a shoe fitting specialist.

A child’s gait must also be observed in their shoes. Footwear that’s too big on a child can cause as much discomfort as shoes that are too small. And, since children’s feet tend to be chubby or thick, it’s essential  the width of a child’s foot is measured accurately by a fit specialist as well as the length.

Since many independent shoe stores catering to children are few and far between these days, Weisenfeld suggests parents consider the next best thing. If there is a local shoe retailer they frequent for their own footwear, the store might be willing to check their child’s feet as a favor to a good customer. Then, parents can feel more confident to buy their children’s shoes online.

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