Toddler Shoes Guide

Pull out your tissues — your toddler’s first steps pack a wallop. Another huge milestone that pulls on your heartstrings until you realize Hey, he looks just like a drunken sailor.

Thus, it’s our duty to make sure that we find the smartest (and cutest) baby shoes to safely anchor our precious new walkers.

Or, in my case, Uncle Ed.

Thus, it’s our duty to make sure that we find the smartest (and cutest) baby shoes to safely anchor our precious new walkers.Photo Courtesy of Pediped

The best part about having two kids is a second chance not to screw it up again.  I can no longer hide in shame from all the mistakes that I made buying shoes for my first kid. Here’s a few things that I’ve learned along the way:

Size does matter. Before you lunge online to order your toddler’s first shoes — start with knowing the right size. Take a trip to an actual kids’ shoe store and have your toddler’s tootsies measured by a trained specialist (or someone masquerading as one). Make sure to look out for devious curled toes that can throw off a measurement and remember to try on shoes with socks (an obvious mistake that I made).

Make sure you also pay attention to the W I D T H of your child’s feet, as many little ones tend to have fat little cherub feet. Shoes that run wide are denoted below.

What’s a good fit? Check that the big toe has enough wiggle room (about a half-inch from the tip of the shoe) and that there’s no pinching on the heel or sides.

Remember: If your kid starts screaming, it may not be the shoe. It may just be naptime! So, congratulate yourself on surviving the crowded (non-virtual) department store with a toddler and head out. Why yes, you deserve that glass of wine waiting for you at home.

One size fits today. As tempting as it might be, don’t buy bigger shoes for the months ahead. Shoes that are too big are hard to walk in and can cause falling and tripping (i.e., drunken sailors on the loose). According to Ross Taubman, M.D., a podiatrist in Clarksville, Maryland, “It’s really important to find shoes that fit properly when she’s learning to walk–otherwise, she could stumble more and take longer to develop the skill.”

Toddler feet can also vary up to half a size, so opt for the larger foot’s size. Kids’ feet grow like weeds, so measure again in a few months. One of my favorite shoe companies, See Kai Run (Smaller) also lists toddler shoe sizes by inches. Handy to know because age and size can be a crap shoot.

Toddler feet can also vary up to half a size, so opt for the larger foot’s size. Kids’ feet grow like weeds, so measure again in a few months. One of my favorite shoe companies, (Smaller) also lists toddler shoe sizes by inches. Handy to know because age and size can be a crap shoot.