13 May 2008
Getting your toddler PROPERLY fitted for shoes can be both confusing and very expensive. 9 out of 10 of the conversations you'll hear at your local Mum n' Toddler group will be about the nightmare experiences at many of the children's shoe retailers. All of this can be avoided and this is how............
Get out of the habit of going to all the major children's shoe retailers for fittings and measurements. I'm not saying boycott them completely, just don't totally entrust them to measure your little one's precious tootsises.
Ask around, search the directories and check the internet for old established family run shoe stores which stock Clarks and Start Rite. These particular brands are two of the very few companies that make different WIDTH fittings, which is VERY important! It may take a while to find your nearest family run shoe fitters, but believe me it will be worth the time and effort. You can't beat good old fashioned knowledge and experience. There are reasons that small businesses like this have been established for decades and sometimes more. You can't substitute a profession that has been passed down through generations with a school leaver who has had a mornings training on the computerized measuring machine.
Okay, so you'll have to pay the recommended retail price on the pair of shoes you've had your child fitted with or possibly pay a small service charge if you don't make a purchase. Maybe you won't if you're REALLY, REALLY CHEEKY, although you'll probably only get away with that for a short time before they realise what you're up too and ban you from the shop (which kind of defeats the object, so do be sensible). But there's nothing to stop you going to the larger outlets sales or bargain spotting on Ebay for extra pairs of slippers, sandals, trainers, wellies etc. These days you just can't get away with one pair of shoes for all occasions. You know your child's correct fitting and as long as you get their little feet measured regularly by the professionals, you can't go wrong. Although you shouldn't get too carried away bargain spotting on Ebay. Second hand shoes for children don't make the greatest sense, especially when you consider verrucas & fungus (YUCK!). Also, if the previous owner had a tendancy to go over on their shoes, it won't be doing the new owners posture any good. If the seller is 100% honest about 'worn once around the house' or worn for an hour at at wedding', there no harm in bidding a couple of quid to get a bargain pair of spare shoes. But sadly, in my experience if you buy shoes described as 'in good worn condition, with plenty of wear left' you're usually just the middle man between the previous owner & the dustbin.
I cringe when I hear stories of constant return trips to Mothercare, Clarks and so on. About kiddies getting blisters or walking out of their shoes because they're too big or being told that the ill fitted shoes they were sold last week will "probably be okay."
Fellow Mums who I have met have been so grateful of my passing on these simple little tips. Hopefully I can help out all the other Mums out there.......