spring clean

A Guide to Buying Boys Shoes

Kids' feet grow at the blink of an eye—which means if you're a mom of a boy, you’ll get plenty of practice shopping for boys shoes. Whether you’re looking for seasonal footwear like snow boots and sandals, an everyday pair of sneakers for rough-and-tumble play, or fancy shoes for your next dressy affair, fit counts. When it comes time to add to your son’s shoe collection, keep these tips in mind.

All feet are not created equal. Generally, one foot is slightly larger than the other. When measuring your son’s feet, make sure you choose a size based on your child’s largest foot.

Measure width and length. Shoe size is not determined by just the length of your child’s foot—width is also important for toddlers and young children. Check out feet measuring tutorials online, such as this one by Stride Rite, and then measure at the end of the day after his foot has expanded. Have him stand up, so that his foot spreads.

Re-measure often. Children grow at different rates, so it’s impossible to know just how long a pair of shoes will last. Pay attention to your child’s cues. Re-measure your child’s feet if they begin to complain of discomfort. Inspect shoes regularly for signs of uneven wear—on the top, sides and bottom. If there are signs of wear, get out the measuring tape.

Leave a little room. Once you’ve measured your child’s foot, make sure the size you select allows about a finger’s width of room beyond the longest toe to ensure your child’s toe bed has room to spread.

Consider your socks. Whether you’re buying sneakers, sandals, or dress shoes, you should take a measurement with his socks as well, so that you can account for the extra padding.

When it comes to active shoes, look for closed toes and good traction. In the heat, it’s nice to have a shoe that breathes and is washable (trust us). In the cooler months, a leather outer provides an extra layer of warmth and protection.

Buy new. The American Podiatric Medical Association advises against hand-me-down shoes. Shoes mold to the wearer’s feet and second-hand shoes can result in an ill fit. Invest in a new pair and you're guaranteed to get good use out of it.

Don’t force it. You may be sure you’ve picked the just-right size for your son, but if his new shoes arrive and don’t fit quite right, don’t force him to wear them. We offer hassle-free returns of unworn merchandise so send them back and try it again.