Shoe Shopping for Children

Finding the right shoes for your children can be frustrating. You might find that you are having an argument with yourself in the store. They grow so quickly; should I buy the next size up? (No, don't do that!) It is going to be summer soon; should I just buy flip flops? (No, don't do that either!) What's the deal with Crocs anyway?

I have a question for you. Have you ever tried shopping for shoes with a three year old and four month old? I need to know answers before I go. I need to know where I am going and what I am getting. We definitely do not have time to sit around and try on 30 pairs of shoes. Not to mention the tryer-onner (yes, that exists) will also thoroughly not enjoy the process. Even if you try to convince him/her that if they behave they can have an ice cream cone "after" - it really isn't after. Now you've got to pick shoes AND get an ice cream cone in that very moment. Oh, what's that? Your four month old is pooping AND you've left your debit card in your wallet in your actual purse (not the diaper bag you double as your purse) which is in your husbands car?! ... Yeah. This is a typical occurence as a mom. I'm going to lay out some tidbits that I should have known as a new mom.

Online comparison shopping is a godsend for work at home or stay at home moms. When your little one is napping and you can finally enjoy that cup of coffee, you can also browse hundreds of styles and selections. Reviews are the best part for me! I buy probably 90% of any new products that I haven't purchased before myself, by basing them on reviews by other people. Sorry "editor reviews," but I can't trust yours as much as "momof5_palmdale2013_ilovemybabies" and hers. (Not a real screenname, btw.)

My son has what I call "solid" feet, thanks to his dad. They aren't that wide or chubby, but rather, thick. Stout. We have tried many different brands since he has been walking. Fortunately once we knew what worked, it was easy to find the next pair. As an early walker here in Florida, we did not want to have to deal with much fuss. That means socks. We also had to find a style that was breathable, that fit, that didn't make him trip and most importantly, provided the proper ankle support.

Early Walker Pointers:

Ankle Support, Arch Support - at this age, they aren't too concerned with what color or brand you are providing their tootsies, just that they are comfortable. You don't want anything too tight. And trust me when I say "no fuss shoe" for the first few pairs. On and off. As soon as you get into the car, they will take them off. You do not want laces. Tripping hazards and tantrum starters. Again, you've just got to trust the experienced moms sometimes. If you've got a screaming toddler in the backseat all because they want their shoes off but you've triple knotted those long laced suckers, it'll take you even longer to untie them. 

Our Choice:

Crocs - Gabe, Vans - Slip On, Nike - Lace Up (YEP! I learned!), Stride Rite - Velcro

Funny story with the Nike toddler shoes. They were on super red-dot clearance for $6.80. Silver and "melon" which I thought was neon red or orange. My husband was less than thrilled that they rang up as "Girls" ... but hey! They wore SO well for my son that now my 4month old will get to wear them by the end of this year. Talk about a deal! The reason the laces don't bother me much on these is that they are the spaghetti-style round laces.

Crocs have a lot of people up in arms about whether or not they are ergonomically safe for toddlers and children. I base my opinions on my own entirely. I see my doctor wearing them at every visit. I see my OB wearing them. Mario Batali wears them. And more importantly, the comfort and ease for my toddler. The style we opted for was "Gabe" in a nice caribbean blue color. It had a picture of a little Croc on it. My son loved them. He is now 3 and on his 3rd pair. They wear incredibly well, wash well, don't smell & you can find the brand name Crocs for a great price in stores like TJ Maxx.

Back to the "no socks" summer easy shoes, Vans. My son has been blessed with the beautiful odor-free feet from both my husband and I (TMI?) so we are comfortable in putting him in slip on shoes without socks. If there was any discomfort I would advise against it, however this works for us. We've got through 3 pairs of Vans. Again, at JCPenney on super red-dot clearance, $7.00 and we doubled up, two pairs in different sizes. These deals do exist!

The brown Stride Rite double velcro straps were one of my favorite pairs. They were purchased on the same sale as the Girls' Nike shoes for $6.80. When I bring up the prices it is mainly to share the fact that you will go through a lot of shoes for your kids. I'm a bargain shopper. I will buy brand new stuff, but never for full price. The Stride Rite brand is really phenomenal. They go to great lengths to ensure that you are finding the right support for your children.

Early walkers really do need proper ankle support while their bones are still growing and fusing. The comfort level is there, although they can run at pretty hefty prices, places like Dillards do clearance sales every so often with an additional 30% off. That is where we are headed tomorrow. Grandma bought our son a pair of "Tony Hawk" velcro shoes at Christmas and he is already growing out of them. The time has come again to buy new shoes, but I have that list of what works for us and I can save hours of torment at the mall.

It might take you a few trips to figure it all out, but once you do, you can also purchase online. The resources for 15% off plus free shipping are endless online. Plus, if you purchase from a retailer, they often have disclaimers that you can return products to the store if your online purchase does not work out. Your children will have a lot of steps to take in their shoes, you can make the best purchase possible with the right knowledge. 

If I could steer you away from flip flops I would. I would also advise against the department stores that brand their own shoes. In our experience we have found discomfort in manufacturing defaults or where the corners have been cut to keep down on cost. They might appear to be a cheaper price point, however when you know that the best brands out there come onto sale at multiple places, how can you say no to saving and having the best product?

I also want to point out that we have several pairs of shoes at once. This prevents too much wear too quickly on just one pair. My son enjoys the selection according to weather as well. "Woggy boots" have been his choice as of late due to our weeklong bout with rainfall. Crocs in the morning & boots by noon. Sounds like a great country song!

After purchasing shoes for my son with his "thick feet," we now have to find the right style for my daughter and her "teeny weeny ballereeny" feet like mommy. I will be buying more for ankle support because they are very petite. Just last month at one of those amazing sales I purchased in advance a pair of Sperry Topsiders and Stride Rite boots ready for her Florida winter! Both for a grand total of $15.83. Booyah!

The best deals sometimes run one weekend a month. Sign up for e-newsletters to places like JCPenney & Dillard's (Saturday May 4th we will be enjoying our local Dillard's event). Browse Amazon too, I love Amazon Prime for many items, shoes included!

crocs Kids' Gabe Clog
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Dec 2, 2016)
New Nike Dart 9 Silver/Punch Girls 11.5
Amazon Price: $45.00 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 2, 2016)