Best foot forward
Ensuring the proper fit for kids’ footwear
CBabies & Shoes
How Feet Grow
Fitting Early Walkers
When kids are little, under the age of 5, they need new shoes frequently because their feet grow at a rapid rate. But between the ages of 5 and 10 they don’t grow as much, so it isn’t unusual for sizes to be the same for months. Don’t get used to it though, because around 11 and 12 they will start to grow at a speedy rate again. omfort, proper fit and durability are key when it comes to choosing the right shoes for kids. And it all starts with the littlest of feet. “While older kids can tell you if a shoe is too narrow or tight in the toes, a 1-year-old can’t,” says Dr. Joshua E. Hyman, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University and New York Presbyterian Hospital, who has an office in Englewood.
No matter how adorable and stylish baby shoes can be (think Gucci), if your baby can’t walk yet, there is no need to put her in shoes, says Hyman. “Shoes are only needed to protect feet,” he says. “Until your little one is up on two feet and walking outside, shoes aren’t necessary.”
When it comes to buying shoes for toddlers, they should look and function like their own young feet. “Toddlers have short, fat feet, so the shoe should have height to it to accommodate the foot,” explains Hyman. It should have a wide and high toe box. Typically a rubber sole is preferred, as it has more friction than a leather sole, so the child will be less likely to slip and fall. It also should be flexible, not rigid.