Advice on how to make a correct choice
Before considering the individual characteristics of children's shoes, it is a good idea to establish the right age for them to be used. When should a child wear his first pair of shoes?
When he starts to take his first steps. In the months preceding this important phase of development, children's feet need to grow and move as freely as possible.
To force a tiny foot into a stiff shoe with high, rigid sides is a sure way to:
hinder the movements of ankles and toes;
decrease the sensitivity of a child's feet which, at birth, is even greater than that of his hands;
cause the child to graze his skin with the toes and heels of his shoes as he kicks his little legs.
As soon as the toddler starts to stand upright and take his first steps, this is the right time to support him with suitable shoes for his age.
Shoes that should respond to the following requirements:
leather is still considered to be the ideal shoe material owing to its flexibility, porosity and breathability;
the sole should be soft and pliable;
the toe box should never be so tight that it stops the child from moving his toes;
the back of the shoe must have sturdy sides to support the child when standing but must not hinder the movements of his ankles.
Since children tend to perspire more than adults, open shoes are to be preferred in summer, allowing their feet to breathe. In early years, it is particularly important to check the shoe length frequently since foot growth is often very rapid and not always constant. As a general rule, it is advisable to buy shoes that are one centimetre longer, and one and a half centimetres longer than the child's foot.
It is also a good idea to try on both shoes, because during growth it is not unusual for one foot to be of a different size from the other.