Buying children's shoes: What you should pay attention to
The health of our feet plays an important role from a very early age: postural deformities as well as spinal, knee, and hip problems can be counteracted with the right footwear from childhood on. It is therefore all the more important to choose the right shoes for the little ones. This article explains what you should look out for when buying your child’s first shoes.
Why are suitable children's shoes so important?
In childhood, the foundation is already laid for many things that become relevant in adulthood. This also includes the health of the musculoskeletal system. Since this is largely determined by the feet, suitable shoes are essential to ensure there will not be any problems later in life.
From damage to the feet themselves (Hallux valgus etc.) to hip malpositions, the resulting uneven wear and tear of the joints and back pain, numerous problems of the locomotor system can be averted with the right shoes.
When should your child start wearing shoes?
As a rule of thumb, the first children's shoes are sensible when the child takes its first steps. Depending on the child, this happens between the 10th and 24th month. The first shoes that your little one should have are first-step shoes. These are soft and flexible and provide the little feet with ideal support during the first steps.
What do you have to consider when buying children's shoes?
As promised, we will now tell you which aspects you should consider when buying children's shoes. Let's get started.
One of the most important factors when buying shoes is certainly the size. After all, size is what determines whether a shoe is suitable for your little one. But how do you know what size your child needs? You can easily find out the right shoe size with the print template below.
Author: Gerd Otto
Image: With this template for printing you will find the right shoe size for your offspring. (Source: https://www.haflinger.com/haflinger-inside/ratgeber/schritt-fuer-schritt-zum-perfekten-lauflernschuh)
Ideally, however, you should also consult a paediatrician or orthopaedic surgeon to find out which shoe size is right for your child. Your little one's foot should be measured every few months anyway to keep up-to-date with the latest sizes – because if there is one thing children do, it’s grow up fast.
The toe area
In most cases, the remaining space between the big toe and the tip of the shoe is measured with the thumb method: If there is a thumb's width between these two, the shoe fits. However, this does not quite apply to children's shoes: Expressed in measures, children's shoes should always be 12 - 17 mm longer than the foot. This gives little feet enough room.
The material of the children's shoe plays an equally important role. It is best to stay away from shoes that are made of synthetic materials and therefore have no breathability. However, this is important for the ventilation of the shoe and thus the foot. This prevents excessive perspiration.
Breathable leather is ideally suited as a material for the matching children's shoe. Even though your child will probably grow out of the shoes again soon, you should still use high-quality materials that support your little one's foot ideally.
Speaking of ventilation and materials: Children's shoes should have removable insoles – children's feet actually sweat more than adults'. Therefore, the ideal children's shoe should have removable soles that can be washed regularly. In general, children's shoes should be properly aired after each wear to prevent moisture build-up.
When your baby pulls itself up on its little feet for the first time, it's time for the first shoes. These should preferably be special baby walkers. Why? Because they are very flexible - exactly what soft baby feet need. After all, they are still growing and therefore need plenty of air and room to move.
Baby shoes or baby walkers should be flexible in all directions and especially soft. It is best to do the test directly when you buy them: if the baby shoe cannot be bent, it is not suitable for your offspring.
How long should the child wear baby walkers? It is best to wear these shoes until the little one is comfortable on its feet and ready for proper children's shoes.
Buying children's shoes needs to be learned
Suitable children's shoes are of particular importance for the healthy development of the feet and thus the entire locomotory system. The better the small shoes are adapted to the feet’s needs, the more carefree they can grow. If you carefully choose the size and flexibility as well as high-quality materials, ideally your offspring will benefit from the choice of shoe as an adult, too.
Author: Gerd Otto, photo see above
Author’s description: Gerd Otto is the managing director of the German shoe manufacturer HAFLINGER, which he is already leading in the fourth generation. The need for naturalness and quality has always been closely connected with Gerd Otto, which is why HAFLINGER focuses on the further development of sustainable shoes and sandals for the whole family.