Frequently Asked Questions
1. WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD START WALKING?
Most children start walking between 10 and 18 months of age, but development varies from one child to another so they can start earlier or later. The most important thing is not to try to make your child walk before they are ready.
2. DOES MY CHILD NEED SHOES WHEN CRAWLING?
Barefoot is best for babies who are crawling and in the early stages of learning to walk, so don’t be tempted to get shoes too early. Little feet are very delicate and toes need room to wiggle to allow them to develop naturally. However, to keep feet warm outside and to protect little toes against bumps and scrapes from hard floors, fitted pre-walkers are a good option. They allow plenty of room for feet to grow, but offer warmth and protection if needed.
3. WHEN SHOULD I GET MY CHILD'S FIRST PAIR OF SHOES? To find out if your child is ready, try our ‘Ready for Shoes?’ checker. If you’re still unsure you could visit your nearest children’s shoe shop for advice. You’ll need to find a shop that offers a professional fitting service for children’s shoes. A trained fitter will ask about your child’s development, observe your child’s walking and tell you when the time is right to buy those all-important first shoes. 4. WHERE SHOULD I BUY MY CHILD'S FIRST WALKING SHOES?
You can either visit our website and use our online measuring and fitting tools or go to a shoe shop with staff who have been specially trained by Start-rite to measure children’s feet. The best first shoes are carefully designed specifically for children’s feet. Feet vary in size and shape so check that the shop sells shoes in whole and half sizes and in a range of width fittings with growing room built in to ensure the best possible fit for your child.
5. WHY ARE PROPERLY FITTED SHOES IMPORTANT?
Properly fitted shoes play a vital role in helping to safeguard the healthy development of your child’s feet. Shoes which don’t fit properly can cause sores or blisters and at worst may even lead to long-term foot problems. Experts estimate that 70% of adults suffer from foot health problems and that the majority of these problems are the result of wearing ill-fitting shoes in childhood. This is because when your child is very young the bones in their feet are made of soft spongy cartilage which can easily be pushed out of alignment by shoes (and even sleep-suits and socks) which don’t fit properly. The nerve endings in babies feet also take time to develop, so your child may not be able to let you know if their feet are sore or squashed by their shoes. The age that a child starts walking can be anywhere from 7 months to 2 year, although the majority start at some point between 10 to 18 months. Every child develops at their own pace though and the most important thing is not to force a child to walk before they are ready. At best, poorly fitted shoes won’t wear as well, so never settle for anything less than the best fit.
6. HOW QUICKLY WILL MY CHILD GROW OUT OF THEIR SHOES?
Children’s feet grow in spurts and every child is different, so they should be checked for size every six to eight weeks when they are toddling, and every three to four months after that. You can do this at home using our online measuring tools or visit a trained shoe fitter in store.
7. WHY DID MY CHILD'S FEET MEASURE DIFFERING SIZES IN TWO DIFFERENT SHOPS?
Don’t be surprised if this happens, or if your child is fitted with shoes which aren’t exactly the size shown on the measuring gauge. Shoe sizes vary between styles and brands (just as they do in clothing) so the foot gauge is only used as a guide to sizing. A trained fitter will only judge if a shoe is the correct length and width for your child once it’s on the foot and has been carefully checked for comfort and fit. We also provide you with a step-by-step guide online to help check the fit at home.
8. IS IT OK TO HAND SHOES DOWN FROM ONE CHILD TO ANOTHER?
It’s not a good idea to hand shoes down from one child to another as no two pairs of feet are the same and second-hand shoes will have moulded to the shape of their previous owner’s feet and style of walking. Wear and tear may also have reduced the protection and support offered by the shoes. There are many shoe recycling centres available that allow you to recycle your shoes.
9. MY CHILD HAS ONE FOOT BIGGER THAN THE OTHER - IS THIS NORMAL?
Most children have one foot bigger than the other and their footwear should always be fitted to the larger foot. If your child has more than one size or width difference between their feet, we recommend visiting a professional shoe fitter. If your child has been referred to a podiatrist or other healthcare professional regarding issues with his or her feet, please ask their advice about footwear. Children with congenital foot conditions should be seen by a GP.
10. MY CHILD HAS VERY SWEATY FEET. WHICH SHOES ARE BEST FOR HIM/HER?
Children’s feet sweat up to an egg-cup full of moisture each day, so look for shoes with leather uppers and with leather or breathable linings. Leather allows perspiration to escape through the surface of the shoe, helping to keep feet drier and healthier. Try to rotate your child’s footwear so that each pair of shoes has a regular airing. It’s also worth remembering that while trainers are great for playtime and sports, worn continuously they can become hot and damp, encouraging bacteria to thrive and leading to smelly feet and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.