The launch of the Summer edition marks the start of what should be one of our busiest shoe selling periods, the school summer holidays and then Back to School. We should be shouting out to the world about the importance of having shoes fitted correctly by experienced professionals, we should be inviting all children to come and have their shoes checked and feet measured. We can’t do any of that at present. We can’t fit shoes. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still help.
So what do you do when your child needs new footwear? Normally we would recommend visiting your local (if you have one) independent shoe retailer and that advice doesn’t change now. Contact your local independent to see if they are still trading online. They will have a wealth of experience and knowledge and will probably be happy to help with any number of questions you may have. If you’re a regular in-store customer they may well remember your child’s feet or have a record of previous purchases that will help to guide you in your next footwear choice.
There is a lot of foot measuring advice that can be found online but the basic information needed is a clear measurement. To get this you can have a lot of fun drawing around you kids’ feet. It is really tricky with little ones and this may be a two person job, one to distract and the other to measure. Make sure your child is wearing socks and place them on a hard floor on a piece of paper or card. Draw around the foot, keeping the pen upright and as close to the foot as you can. Concentrate on one foot at a time as they won’t stand still for long. Ideally their weight should be balanced on their feet so that the feet spread evenly.
Once you have an outline measure the distance from the heel to the longest part of each foot. Then measure the distance from side to side at the widest point. From this information the retailer will be able to convert the measurement into a shoe size. Even more helpful would be to send the retailer pictures of the feet. From the front and from the sides. This will help to give an idea for the depth of the foot and could change the suggested width, as the measurement in isolation will not always provide an accurate fit.
In terms of what size or style you want it will help if you can narrow down the options as best you can. If you have had a preferred brand then check out their website for advice on sizing but use some common sense as well. If your child is currently wearing UK10/EU28 then it’s unlikely (although not impossible) that they will need anything longer than a UK11/EU29.
If you do need new shoes then, it may sound a bit boring, but if you’ve been happy with a particular style then you may be best having the next size up. Styles like Ricosta, Nippy and Geox Android have been produced for years but are refreshed each season in new patterns and shades. So why not try a new colour in a bigger size?
When it comes to ordering don’t buy more than you think you need. If you can, contact the retailer. Together you can try and work out the right options and limit your choice and the amount of returns you have to make. Once you receive your online order you obviously need to check that you are happy with the fit of the shoes.
To check the length take the footbeds out of their shoes if you can. If they are meant to come out then they will come out easily and you won’t have to force them out! Get the child to stand on the footbed so that the foot is right to the back. They should have about 1cm from the end of the biggest toe to the end of the footbed. If the footbeds don’t come out then get your child to stand in the shoes and you will need to feel through the shoes, by pushing down, to try and find this room at the end of the shoe.
With the shoes on you will have to check the rest of the fit. Starting from the back of each foot check that there is a snug fit around the ankles.
To check the width, run your fingers down the side of the foot. Can you feel any part of the foot pushing the side of the shoe out? This could mean they are too narrow or if you have to squeeze the shoe at the sides to feel the foot this could be a sign they are too wide.
Now check the depth. Run your thumb over the top of the foot. Can you get the upper material to ripple across the foot? It should move and not be too tight or too loose that you can pinch it.
Next get your child to walk in the shoes and check if their walk is the same as normal. Can you see any movement at the heels? Ask your child to sit and gently pull on the backs of the shoes. There should be no movement.
If at any point you are not sure then get in touch with the retailer. Better to get some advice than to send shoes back that could still fit with a bit of adjustment.
Over the coming weeks kids will benefit from getting out of the house to burn off some energy. Whether it's in the garden or getting some exercise around the block it's best that they do it in shoes that fit. So, if you need help, then give us or another children's footwear specialist a call or an email. We're happy to pass on our years of professional experience and give you as much advice as we can.
Little Wanderers are now open and operating an appointment system to ensure that they are Covid Safe. Read more about that HERE.
Take advantage of 15% off all children's shoes bought online or in store at Little Wanderers by 30th September 2020 - get your Raring2go! voucher HERE!
Claire Hiles MSSF
Owner of Little Wanderers, an independent children’s shoe shop in Bolton and member of the Society of Shoe Fitters. Claire has over 20 years of shoe fitting experience and is passionate about the vital role that professional, qualified shoe fitters play in keeping your family's feet healthy.