A boy’s sneaker will cover on average 600 miles over the course of its wear. That’s too many miles to spend in the wrong shoes. Fortunately, plenty of sneakers exist that will fit your budget, your boy’s style, and, of course, his feet. If you follow a few guidelines to ensure a proper fit, everyone will walk away happy.
Bring your child to the shoe store so that a salesperson can measure his feet. Your boy can view and try on a wide variety of brands and narrow down the style that he likes and the brand that works best for the shape of his foot. Visit for measurements late in the afternoon, since feet swell throughout the day. Finally, return home and compare pricing with online stores.
If you can’t find the time to head to a store, refer to the size charts on the site. Measure your child’s foot and choose the corresponding size. Online shoe stores, like zappos.com, have flexible return policies, in case the fit isn’t right. Be prepared to return a couple pairs before you find the right one.
Often, the right and left foot is a different size. Size the shoes according to the larger foot.
Kids take an average of 12,000 steps per day. You’ll want to choose a shoe that is built to last and provides enough support to keep your child’s feet healthy.
A podiatrist loves a supportive running or walking shoe for kids’ growing feet. However, it might be tough to find the most supportive running shoe in a style that suits a kids’ preferences, their complaint being that, well, it looks like a running shoe. Somewhere out there exists a happy medium.
Shoes should have thick cushioning in the heel, arch support, and support along the sides to stabilize your child’s step. Watch how the shoes bend when your child walks in them. They should bend at the natural bend in the foot, at the toe. You’ll also want to choose materials that breathe, like leather, canvas and nylon mesh. This prevents the buildup of moistness, which leads to blisters and smelly feet.
The shoe should leave about a half-inch between the toe and the end of the shoe when standing, and his foot shouldn’t bulge at the sides of the shoe. If you’re shopping online, measure your child’s foot. Draw a long line on a piece of paper. Have your boy stand on the paper with the line running through the middle of the big toe and the heel. Mark the length of his foot on the paper and measure the distance. Then choose a size that corresponds to the length on the size chart. Think about which brands have historically offered the best support and didn’t run too narrow or wide for your child’s foot. If he’s in between sizes, choose the half size up.
You’ll want to choose durable materials that are easy to clean. Leather lasts, and you can clean it with soap and water and apply shoe polish. Canvas and good nylon mesh sneakers also get a lot of mileage. You’ll also want to check the toe for rubber to prevent stubbage as well as reinforced stitching, particularly where the nylon mesh meets leather. Sneakers should have flexible soles with textured bottoms to prevent slipping.
Somewhere out there is a supportive shoe that looks cool, so encourage your son to skip on a hip shoe that falls short on comfort and durability. In a Good Housekeeping test of kids’ sneakers, the New Balance 630 won highest marks for value, support, and style. They come in a variety of colors and are at once athletic and fashionable.
Since kids feet grow an average of six inches over their childhood, your son won’t be in his shoes for long. Plan to limit your spending to under 60 dollars, which should be easy to achieve.
Skateboarding shoes are all the rage, however they’re not constructed for walking long distances. While walking or running shoes provide a lot of cushioning in the heel, skateboarding shoes have a flatter cushioning so that the shoes don’t push the skater’s weight forward. So encourage your son to look elsewhere for everyday shoes. If your son skates, make sure his skateboarding shoe has all around cushioning to absorb the pressure of jumping off the board repeatedly when bailing on a trick.
It’s tempting to buy one size up so that he’ll be able to wear them for longer, but that’s a bad idea. Oversized shoes can’t support feet or stabilize the ankle. The back of the shoe should grab the back of the heel. Shoes that are too big can also cause your child to trip.
Don’t wait for your son to complain about his shoes being uncomfortable. Check his shoes occasionally to see if the toe is too close to the end of the shoe. He feet shouldn’t roll over the side or press at the seams. Look at the bottom for holes or excessively uneven wear, and check the seams to see if they’re frayed or torn.
Your son will probably trash his shoes more quickly than he’ll grow out of them, with muddy soccer games, hikes in the woods and splashes in rain puddles. Unless the shoes are marked machine washable, you’ll need to handwash them. Remove the laces and throw them in with the regular wash. Also remove the inserts. Mix some powdered detergent and dish soap in water. Use a soft bristle brush and scrub the soapy water into the shoe and the inserts. When you’ve scrubbed them all over, rinse them with clean water. Stuff the inside of the shoe with paper towels and sit the pieces out to dry. You’ll need to change the paper towels as they get soaked through.
It used to be that shoe companies came out with one model that would last multiple years. Now, an abundance of shoe companies all come out with a wide selection of models every year. Kids can be vicious about shoe fashion, so don’t force your son to wear shoes that he hates. Take time to shop around. With so many choices available, you’re sure to find something you both can agree on.
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