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Gotta Run: A Guide to Kids’ Athletic Shoes

Choosing the best sneakers for the ‘short set’...

Posted January 20, 2012

sneakersThere’s more to choosing your kids’ sneakers than just letting them run amok in the store until they find something they like. These sneakers are going to get a workout after all, and your child’s feet are important, they need to be looked after.

Here’s our three point guide to making the right choice:

Step One: Size up the situation.

Fit and comfort are crucial, so be sure to measure your child’s foot with a size chart. Take the measurements late in the day, after she’s stretched out her tootsies by running around a bit, and when her feet may be a little swollen. As with any apparel, some brands run big, some small, so head to the store to try on a few pairs before buying. The right size leaves about a half an inch between the toes and the end of the shoe. Squeeze test the sides to check room in the width. Finally, have your child take a walk around the store. The shoes shouldn’t slip off of heels or cause an unusual gait.

Step Two: Be practical.

Classic Chucks and Vans can instantly up the cool quotient, but please note: the canvas won’t stand up to winter’s sloppy playgrounds and sidewalks, and the kids will come home with seriously soggy dogs. For the cold, wet months, clad the kids’ feet in something in sturdier leather with serious treads, to avoid slipping and sliding. Velcro closures on smaller kids’ shoes will be a blessing, especially after you’ve wrestled hats, coats and gloves onto an unwilling tike or two.

Step Three: Please the customer.

Kids are more willing to don, and leave on, things they like. Find a few pairs of shoes that meet the fit, comfort and fabrication criteria and let your child pick the ones she likes best. Even if she chooses something you don’t love, they’ll only fit until spring anyway, so where’s the harm? Save the style battles for more permanent self-expressions, like ear piercing!

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