Buying the Best Shoes for Toddlers: A Parents' Guide

Want to know what’s trending in footwear for your fashionable little one? Here we give you the low down on what’s popular and tips for parents on the right shoes for your toddler

By Yamini Dalal

Buying the Best Shoes for Toddlers: A Parents' Guide

When children take those baby steps and start walking, parents are keen on getting them the right footwear, to help them take confident strides. Toddlers’ feet grow fast and parents have to accordingly buy the appropriate shoes, based on various factors including comfort, safety, weather and so on. Of course, being on trend is also important.

Interestingly, my quest for the right shoes resulted in the inception of my company, after struggling to identify good quality footwear for my lovely daughters.

Types of Shoes 

Footwear are basically available in various styles and materials -- Canvas, EVA (Jellies), leather shoes, fabric ones, sandals and sneakers. The most popular category are Velcro and buckle formats.There is also a growing domestic and international trend for sandals, simply because of the convenience it offers to quickly apply on. They also go with a wide range of clothing such as shorts, denims, skirts, Indian formals, khakis and dresses.

What’s trending in toddler’s shoes:

1. Shoes with food prints

2. Patchwork denim shoes

3. Sandals with straps and buckles

4. Glittery sandals

5. Sturdy sports-inspired sandals for boys

6. Check-printed fabric shoes

7. All types of sneakers

Choosing the Right Footwear

It is critical to choose the right footwear for your toddler as these are the foundation years to build their ‘gait’ (style of walking), posture and spinal health. The fallacy that light weight footwear is the best, has often proven incorrect. The shoe must be slightly heavy in order to develop the calf muscles of the toddler, which would directly result in stronger legs. It is different for older children or adults, who walk often to enhance their calf muscles and therefore may have a better posture.

Shoes are also a parameter to judge the independent nature of the toddler’s lifestyle. For example: Parents opt for a slip-on or a Velcro version because they want to make it easy for their child to wear the shoes. But laces and buckles are desirable, because these will teach them to be more self- reliant and patient. They also help build fine motor skills and eye-hand co-ordination on a daily basis.

Parents also need to keep these points in mind while buying shoes:

Materials that breathe: The choice of material such as textile upper with mesh is important to help movement of air during walking or running.

Foot bed: The cushion quality enhances the natural shape of the foot, if arched or flat. Often this is neglected by parents.

Toe and Heel: Protection to both ends of the feet provides optimum safety even when one chooses to wear a closed shoe or an open sandal.

Choosing the right footwear can make the difference between comfort and injury. Parents need to keep in mind that quality and safety should be uppermost on their minds, especially while buying footwear for little children. Bad quality shoes can result in rashes and itchiness, while a bad fit means blisters. So whatever the trend, look for a good fit and breathable material.

The author is founder and CEO of First Love - Kids Footwear (www.first-love.in)