Find the proper fit for baby's little piggies!
We know that finding the proper fitting little girls shoes can be a very difficult undertaking for moms and dads. Often times the size numbers can be deceiving, and you can’t rely on them the same way you can with clothing. An improper fit can also mean disaster – pinched toes, blisters, and other serious foot problems can develop. Shoe fitting expert Kirk Watson of PodiatryNetwork.com offers advice on achieving the perfect fit for your baby girl shoes. Here are his seven steps to help you get it right.
1. First Things First
Know when it’s time for girls shoes in the first place. Watson reminds parents that shoes are only really necessary when a child starts to pull up and cruise around objects.
Also, you must realize that fitting shoes is an art, not a science. It’s a process that involves lots of practice and experience to get it right.
First, measure both of your child’s feet in a standing position because feet are more flexible and will expand to a true size with body weight. Next, take three standard measurements from a branock device – length, width and arch length. Note that the size the foot measures is not necessarily the shoe size. Differences in construction, materials, form, and sizing systems will determine the actual shoe size. Lastly, note any differences in the sizes of the feet. You’ll want to fit the largest foot.
Generally there is one third of an inch between sizes, and one sixth of an inch between half sizes. Therefore, each one third of an inch a foot grows equal a one size increase. By this calculation, the average infant will wear a shoe for two to three months. However, keep in mind that the growth rate will vary with individual children. Purchasing shoes that are too large is likely to cause tripping of an already unstable walker.
The width of a shoe is trickier than the length. The length and width of a shoe are proportional, so the width will increase as length does. Width increases about one-fourth inch per full size. Insert the tip of the first finger between the shoe and foot at the instep to first gauge how well the foot is fitting the width of the shoe. If the finger will not fit then the shoe is not wide enough.
Next, check that there is enough room in the throat of the shoe to allow for forward growth. Then use the thumb and first finger to pull the leather in a lifting motion up from the ball of the boot. There should be enough room to lift the shoe material off of the foot slightly, but not in excess. Finally, check the inside and outside of the foot for pressure points and cramped toes.
If you are fitting a high-top walking shoe on your baby, the heel fit is not a major concern. The heel is covered and the shoe will stay on well. On a lower shoe the heel should stay in the shoe without popping out when the baby walks. Tightness in the heel will cause more problems than if the shoe is a little loose in the heel. A little looseness is permissible, but not a large gap between the heel and the shoe.
6. Walk Test
All fit checks on girls shoes should be done with the child standing. If the child can’t walk alone yet, let him or her pull up on a chair or fitting stool. If the child is walking, let them take a few steps and watching their balance. Take special note on the break in the shoe. It should be straight across the ball of the foot. A deep break (excess wrinkle) or breaking at an angle would indicate that the shoe is too wide. Breaking forward of the ball of the foot would indicate that the shoe is too long. Check the shoe again after the child has taken a walk in them and the foot has relaxed and set in the shoe.
7. Other checks
Make sure the shoe does not rub the anklebone and cause irritation. High top shoes for little girls should cover the anklebone and low tops should hit just below it. If you still aren’t quite sure how to properly fit your child’s feet, don’t be afraid to ask! Pediatricians and foot care consultants are trained to know proper fit. You’ll be glad you got a second opinion and made an educated decision.