spring clean

A Guide to Buying Girls Shoes

What’s more fun than shopping for shoes? Shopping for little ones, of course. But shoes are more than an adorable accessory; they protect your child’s feet and help them develop properly. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for girls shoes.

Kids’ feet change a lot. Baby’s tender feet may only need protection while she is out and about, so a soft, flexible bootie works well. Toddlers benefit from firm, flexible soles that offer support and traction as they learn to walk. Older kids may need a variety of shoes, but the basics remain the same: good traction, good fit, and good arch support.

Measure her feet. You can go to a store or do it yourself (there are tutorials online, such as this one by Stride Rite). Try to do it at the end of the day, when her foot has expanded, and have her stand up, so her foot spreads. Don’t be surprised if her feet are different sizes (yours probably are, too) and fit for the larger size. Measuring width is especially important for younger children, who often need wider shoes since they still have baby fat on their feet.

When your child tries on shoes, feel the toe. Her toes should be about a half inch back. You should also be able to fit your pinky finger snugly into the back of the shoe. Check her shoes frequently; kids need new shoes every few months.

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.

Include your child in the shopping fun. Let her choose from your selections. It’s easy to do online; just drop items into your cart and let her pick from them.

Make it easy. Shoes that kids can put on easily without help, such as slip-ons, will get you out the door faster in the morning.

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.

It’s always good to have a pair of dress shoes. You can’t go wrong with a classic —Mary Janes go with nearly everything. That being said, your princess may want sparkle in her step or a friendly face on her toes. There are many options, making dress shoes the most fun to choose.

Changing seasons mean changing footwear. Water shoes protect her feet at the beach while winter boots make sledding fun. Look for waterproof boots that are high enough to meet up with a snowsuit and are easy to get on and off. Rain boots are great for splashing in puddles—and so adorable for the photo ops. (Many have matching coats and umbrellas. Can you handle the cute?)

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