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A Parent's Primer on Buying Toddler's Boots and Shoes

With all of the responsibilities of parenthood, you may think that, well, there's not much to think about when it comes to buying toddler's boots and shoes. You may assume that the shoe salesperson will fit the shoes correctly. This is too often not the case. If your budget is stretched, you might opt for the cheap toddler's foot gear, or rely on hand-me-downs from the child's siblings. Neither option is a good choice. Cheap shoes are not usually well-constructed, nor do they provide the support that growing toddler's feet require. In the case of hand-me-downs, it's rare that a boot or shoe will conform to the next child's foot, both in width and correct length. With fall coming on, it's getting time to go shopping for toddler's boots, for the wet weather season. Here, we give you some do's and don'ts on buying children's footwear.

Kid's bones are growing rapidly at this age, as you may already know! Typically, you'll find yourself shoe shopping, on average, every three months. Good quality, well-fitted boots and shoes are essential for proper development of your child's foot. Poorly fitting and ill-made shoes can create major foot problems years down the road. Bunions, hammertoes and flat feet are just some of the problems that may develop. You'd be smart to ask your pediatrician for a recommendation on children's shoe brands and shops where you can confidently shop for your toddler's boots and shoes.

The first thing you don't want to do is to shop in advance of the need for new boots and shoes. Just keep tabs on the fit of the current boot or shoe. When the child's big toe is between?and?inch from the end of the shoe, it's time to go shoe shopping. Don't be tempted to buy, say, a cute pair of toddler's boots that are too big for your child to wear now. Kids go through 'unscheduled' growth spurts frequently. This means your child may never be able to wear that cute pair of boots and you've thus just wasted money.

One thing you do want to do is to choose shoes that are shaped like a child's foot. I've never seen a kid with a pointed foot. Toddlers haven't yet reached the stage of fashion consciousness, so do them a favor and go with nicely round-toed shoes. When shopping for toddler's footwear, keep in mind that your toddler's bones are still soft and developing; their bones can easily become deformed by wearing shoes that squeeze and bend the bones of the foot into unnatural shapes. Even for dress boots and shoes, stick with those with no heel and a rounded toe.

Follow your pediatrician's recommendations on brands and shops with staff that are trained to measure and fit toddler's feet. Shopping at these specialty children's shoe shops may cost a bit more, but you will certainly avoid some of those major foot problems mentioned above.

Along with a price that's a bit higher than the cheap shoes for toddlers, you'll also gain some safety and protective features. Sturdily constructed toddler's boots provide good support for those little feet, while toe and heel covers offer protection from injuries in rough play. Look for a good sole that's non-slip for added protection.

Naturally, even toddlers appreciate 'cute', so let them make choices in style?up to a point. Protective, well-fitted, quality boots and shoes for toddlers doesn't preclude cute!

I'd say you're now well prepared to go shopping for your toddler's boots and shoes. Happy shopping!