Kid’s Shoe Fit Tips

Picture of my wife, daughter, and myself with barefeet

I get a lot of questions on how kids shoes should fit.  For all you parents out there who are having issues finding shoes that will fit on your children’s feet, here are a few quick thoughts…

Studies show that the best thing for foot development is going barefoot early in life. As you grow, your foot develops to suit your lifestyle and continues to change as you develop into an adult. Your foot is actually made of cartilage and bone until puberty, at which point solid bone develops. In the cartilage stage, your foot is figuring out what your weight distribution will be, how active you’ll be, etc. so it can create the right foundation for your body.

Going barefoot allows your foot to naturally develop without being restrained. Now we all know that going barefoot is not a widely accepted practice outside the home, so that is where KEEN comes in. The fit of a KEEN kids’ style has a very wide forefoot allowing a child’s foot to sit in its natural position for proper development while protecting little toes. In short, it is like having barefeet without having barefeet.

Now some of you are saying “what does this have to do with the fit?” After doing an informal survey here at KEEN, I found that most parents buy kids shoes that are up to two sizes larger than the actual size of their child’s foot (reasons being cost, fit, etc). This can cause issues in the development of a child’s foot. If you are buying a shoe that is too large for a child’s foot you are causing the foot to compensate for the extra weight and lack of movement a larger shoe has. If this is done over an extended period of time you could cause the growth of the bones to develop in a way that does not suit your child’s actual weight distribution and lifestyle. So, when shopping for kids shoes follow these 3 steps:

1. Always buy a shoe size that represents of your child’s actual foot size.

2. Make sure the shoe is not too tight on their foot. Some kids will say it fits great  because they like the color/style when in reality it is too tight.

3. Have your child walk around the store in the shoes. Check to make sure that the shoe is not slipping in the heel or falling off their foot.

So next time you are out shopping for new shoes for your child remember these 3 easy steps and your days of frustration are over. By the way the picture above is of my wife, daughter, and I…