You gotta cut loose, footloose, kick off your Sunday shoes! Ok, I want Emma to have shoes that are comfortable and good enough that she doesn’t want to kick them off. At least not now. At Emma’s young age of 13 months it’s so important to find the RIGHT pair of shoes for her. I’ve looked into this thoroughly, believe me! There are several things that I don’t mind going the “cheap” route on but shoes aren’t one of them. Prior to walking, it didn’t really matter what Emma wore because she wasn’t USING her feet for anything other than decoration. Once she became a walker, we had to think on a whole new level. Let me elaborate: Emma is not an independent walker yet- she walks WITH something at all times- a table, a hand, a cart, you name it she uses it. JR props her up against a wall and encourage her to walk to him. One thing about my child that makes her mine is that she is ornery. She isn’t walking until she’s ready, it doesn’t matter what you dangle it front of her. Anyways, here are some things that are important to consider when buying shoes for your walker:
- A child doesn’t develop an arch until they are three years old so you do not need to find something with arch support.
- A child’s most critical time period for having the right shoe is when they’re first learning to walk. It helps them balance as well as walk straight versus become pigeon toed. Most of these things can be corrected, but I would rather remove the situation all together.
- Buy shoes with good soles. It’s just crazy not to! When you buy your brand new walker a pair of shoes that slide everywhere it’s like sticking them in four inch heels and saying, “good luck!”.
- Take them somewhere you can size them. It seems crazy but when your child is a squirmer it’s hard to tell exactly what size they wear. Having them sized will give you a peace of mind.
- From one year to two years, you will need to size your child’s foot every 3-4 months. This doesn’t mean it will change every time, but most likely it will.
With all these facts in mind, I began my search for the perfect shoes for Emma. I searched here and there and everywhere. When we went on our vacation to Savannah earlier this summer, we stopped by a Stride Rite and checked out the options they had there. I loved the shoes and the service, but did NOT love the prices. There wasn’t a sale or anything like that going on so I decided I would wait. During that time I researched shoes and asked people, too. Do you want to know the resounding answer I got from pretty much everyone? Buy Stride Rite. I figured with that many people, we couldn’t go wrong! While we were on vacation last week, I decided to make the plunge. I looked for Stride Rite’s at Wee Cycle It this fall and couldn’t find any that weren’t overly used and overly priced, too. I figured if I was going to drop that kind of cash it would be on NEW shoes. Can I get an amen?
Halfway through our vacation, JR and my dad made a trip to Universal Studios for the day while mom, Emma and I hung out. We spent the majority of our day at the condo but decided to go out for the afternoon/early evening and shop for Emma’s shoes, and a little for us on the side. Our first stop was Stride Rite, of course! They were having a 40% off sale and I was bound and determined to get my shoes. When we walked in, we were greeted right away and asked if they could measure Emma’s foot. Imagine my surprise when they told me she was a 2 ½. I still thought she was barely in a two! This is why you get someone else to measure your child’s foot, NOT you. Once we had her sized, we began checking out all that was available. I was interested in getting the best deal, so I checked the boy’s shoes, too. In case you’re wondering, at this age there is no difference in the sizes and they fit the same. Trust me, I asked. After finding no price difference, I finally settled on a pair of shoes for Emma. We let her try them on and walk around the store. I wish I had video to share and show the excitement that was all over her face. She was on cloud nine and stomping all over the store. I started to take them off and guess what? She got to keep them on instead! I brought the box up front and they used those to check us out. The whole time I was doing this, Emma was making laps around the store with Mimi. It’s almost as if my child found a whole new sense of pride in her new kicks. I was very pleased with our purchase and the comfort in knowing that in one area of our lives, I had actually splurged a little. For Emma, it was worth it.
Emma has been wearing her shoes everyday. She doesn’t take them off like she did her old shoes. She actually enjoys these and keeps them on all day long. I’ve noticed her balancing better than before and although they don’t match every outfit, she definitely is more confident in them so that will do. Watching her have the courage and desire to walk more puts my heart at ease. Stride Rite was DEFINITELY the way to go for the Linkous family!
One more thing- if you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to drop an armload of money, here are some suggestions:
- If you’re set on buying a certain brand, check out when they’re on sale most often. For example, Stride Rite has buy one, get one half price sales two times a year (once near Labor Day and once around St Patrick’s Day). I plan on buying new shoes at the sale around March and getting another pair then that’s the next size up. This should last us until the next sale in August/September.
- You don’t have to buy the top brand. I’m sure there are brands that are wonderful and more expensive than Stride Rite. I’m sure there are brands that won’t kill your child that are cheaper than Stride Rite. I would set a budget and then try to find the best shoe for the best deal at that price. You can find a lot of good shoe prices if you take the time to look.
- Buy used. I hear all different things about buying shoes used but you know what? You have to make the decision that’s best for you and your family. I personally don’t have a problem with used. After all, 90% of Emma’s stuff is used! You can check out sales like Wee Cycle It, or if you can’t wait, check with friends as well as local thrift stores. We did some thrift shopping on vacation and I got a pair of Guess jeans for Emma for $1 and a Ralph Lauren Polo button up shirt for me for $2. That was a good day!
Most important, be smart and take your child on a day that they’re feeling up to the challenge. Shoe shopping can be tiring and exhausting for a little one. Shopping in general can be this way. Allow your child a good nap before hand so they’re up for the task and then make a special memory out of it. Mom and I took Emma to Moe’s to eat one of her favorite meals- BEANS- and then shared some ice cream with her afterwards at the Cold Stone Creamery. What a treat! It’s not every day Emma eats out like that but it’s also not every day we buy her first pair of big girl shoes. Welcome to toddlerhood Emma! And enjoy walking through it!
What advice do you have for shoe shopping with your little ones?