A kid's shoe fitting at Stan's. Trying on a boy's New Balance shoe.

Let’s be honest: Kids’ feet grow quickly, so shopping for their shoes can be frustrating sometimes. It can be easy to rationalize thoughts like this:

  • “If my child is just going to outgrow their shoes anyway, I don’t need to spend the money on a high-quality shoe.”
  • “It’s ok if my child’s shoe is a little too big or too small. They’ll grow into it or can wait a few months to size up.”
  • “My child won’t know the difference between a high-quality or low-quality shoe anyway.”

The truth is that it’s just as important for kids to have good-quality, well-fitting shoes as it is for adults! Their feet are developing rapidly, and shoes that don’t fit well or don’t support their feet can cause a lot of pain later on.

It’s well worth a slightly higher price tag to ensure that your child’s feet can develop properly and that they can enjoy their play comfortably. Read on to find out what to look for in kids shoes, why we recommend having your child’s feet professionally sized, and what brands we recommend.

How Kids’ Feet Develop

Children have 26 bones in their feet, which are made of soft, flexible cartilage that doesn’t fully become bone until their late teens. Because their feet take so long to fully form, it’s crucial to make sure they’re wearing supportive shoes at all stages of development.

Before babies learn to walk, it’s best for them to be barefoot. However, once they’re walking regularly and steadily, it’s good for them to wear shoes when they’re outside in order to prevent cuts and infections, although it is still best to not wear shoes indoors. Their arches will begin to form around this time. Once they’re over four years old, it’s recommended that they begin wearing shoes that support and cushion their feet.

As your child’s feet develop, wearing shoes that are too big or too small can result in a variety of health problems both presently and later in life. On a minor scale, blisters, cuts, and ingrown toenails can be caused by shoes that are cutting into the skin or that are letting the feet slide around. In the long term, severe health conditions may include nerve damage, muscle weakness, and joint pain.

It’s incredibly important that children wear properly fitted shoes at every phase of development! That’s why we recommend having your children’s feet measured and buying good shoes that reduce health concerns due to high-quality materials and thoughtful, child-specific designs.

Why You Should Have Your Kid’s Feet Measured at Stan’s

Trying to accurately measure a foot that’s rapidly growing can be overwhelming. There are a lot of factors to consider, including length, width, roominess in the toe box, flexibility, breathability, and more. Plus, it’s recommended that kids have their feet measured as regularly as every six weeks!

Our Certified Fit Specialists at Stan’s are here to help take all the stress out of shoe shopping for your kids. They’ll measure both of your child’s feet and find a variety of styles that will be the perfect fit. They can also help identify any developmental concerns they see based on your child’s foot or gait, and they’ll happily take all your needs and wants into consideration.

Our team is friendly and has experience working with kids who have a variety of special needs. If your child needs a private appointment, we’re more than happy to set one up! Contact us to learn more.

What to Look for In Kids Shoes

For toddlers, the most important thing is that their shoes are flexible. Shoes should have soft soles and be made with pliant materials; this will allow their feet to grow unhindered and prevent their feet from forming in unusual ways. It’s important to note that many toddlers and young children have wide feet, so make sure to not buy shoes that are too narrow.

For most children’s shoes, the following are great qualities to have:

  • Rubber soles: Children’s shoes go through far more wear and tear than the average adult shoe, so it’s important that the sole is made with a durable material like rubber. This will stop the shoe from wearing out too quickly.
  • Closed-Toes: Even in sandals, it’s good to have closed-toes because it reduces risk for stubbed toes, cuts, and infection.
  • Arch Support: Children don’t necessarily need a lot of arch support, at least not until they’re a little older. Everyone has different arches, so we recommend talking to one of our Certified Fit Specialists at Stan’s or to a Certified Pedorthist to decide if arch support is right for your child.
  • Cushioning: Well-cushioned shoes help absorb the shock of impact as your kids run, jump and play, which helps alleviate stress on their ankles and joints. Plus, it’s just more comfortable!

Check out a few of our favorite kid’s styles below!

Best Kids Shoe Brands at Stan’s

New Balance Kids Shoes

New Balance is an athletic lifestyle brand beloved by adults around the world. Now its comfort and style can extend to your children as well! Here are a few of our favorite things about New Balance:

  • Many New Balance uppers are made from mesh, which makes them flexible and breathable for growing, sweaty feet.
  • The outsoles are made from durable rubber that can last through months of wear-and-tear from play.
  • The midsoles feature super soft and lightweight cushioning that makes the shoes comfortable and helps absorb the shock of impact.
  • Most styles come in regular and wide widths.

Shop New Balance kids shoes in store and online.

Keen Kids Shoes

Keen makes shoes for every outdoor lover, and that includes kids! All the best parts of their adult shoes have been adapted into kids styles so that your child can play outside all day long. Here are a few of our favorite things about Keen:

  • The majority of Keen styles are waterproof, making them perfect for rainy days, the beach, or outdoor adventures.
  • Their sandals have enclosed toes, which provides the cooling comfort of sandals without risking stubbed toes, cuts, or scratches from debris.
  • Their bungee laces make shoes adjustable and ensure that the on-and-off process is incredibly easy.
  • The outsoles are made with grippy rubber that provides great traction even on wet or uneven terrain.

Shop Keen kids shoes in store and online.

Tsukihoshi Kids Shoes

Tsukihoshi is a brand made just for kids, and they’re carefully crafted with the features to prove it!  Here are a few of our favorite things about Tsukihoshi:

  • Wide toe boxes leave lots of room for kids’s toes to splay and balance and for their feet to grow quickly.
  • Arch support is built into the insoles, and the heel is designed to provide optimum stability.
  • All styles are super lightweight so nothing can weigh your child down as they play!
  • They’re made for parents’ peace of mind, too. All styles are machine washable to easily get out those tough stains after a day of play. Plus, a deodorizing insole reduces the odors of stinky feet, keeping your mudroom (or wherever your kids decide to leave their shoes!) smelling fresh.

Shop Tsukihoshi kids shoes in store or online.

Where to Buy Kids Shoes in Milwaukee

For a wide selection of kids shoes, from sandals to sneakers in kids sizes 1-13, visit Stan’s Fit For Your Feet in Brookfield, Greenfield, or Glendale. Our Fit Specialists can’t wait to see your child’s smiling face!

You can also shop our full collection online 24/7 at stansfootwear.com.

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