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Shoes for Kids – Frequently asked Questions and Answers

Twelve years as a retailer of children’s shoes in Berlin’s Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf have given us at Kleine Helden – Shoes for Kids plenty opportunities to show parents just how valuable their shoe expertise and advice is. Many of our customers bought their children’s first shoes from us, and have since become loyal customers that we always go out of our way for.

Our team has a wealth of experience when it comes to children’s shoes, and this knowledge is something that we want to provide for you and your child.

These are some of the typical questions we hear in our day to day - you may find these useful, but please do not hesitate to get in touch should you be concerned about anything

Frequently asked questions regarding shoes for kids

When do children need their first shoes?

Basically, the longer your kids run barefoot, the better. This allows them to learn to roll the foot properly and thus build up the necessary muscles. So the saying is, for us, the best shoes for little kids are ‘no shoes’. Not only does this train muscles, but it also aids in the development of fine motor skills. Walking on diverse surfaces is a new experience for children, which constitutes an important learning process for them.

Yet this is in theory - in practice, things change. Wet, cold, or dirty surfaces change the situation a little. When children move from crawling to walking, their feet must be protected from cold, wet and dirt. Considering just how important it is for children to walk barefoot and develop muscles and fine motor skills, it is all the more important that their first shoes are manufactured by experts. A good quality shoe should provide grip without restricting the walk. As a retailer with expertise, we know the difference between what is merely chic and that which is good for your child.

How quickly do children grow?

...and how quickly do their feet grow? This is a very important question because growing children cannot often perceive when a shoe has become too small. When the shoe become too small, the foot begins to grow accordingly to fit the shoe - this leads to feet being formed incorrectly causing many problems later in life.

The smaller the child, the quicker the growth rate. Naturally, each child has his or her own pace of growth, yet the rule is generally the following: during infancy, three sizes per year; in kindergarten and about two sizes per year and at school age about one size per year.

We are delighted to invite you in and come check your child’s foot size for you. We advise to do this check up even with children that are able to speak already, as these may still not be able to identify well whether a shoe is well fit or if it has indeed already started to affect the growth of the feet.

What are first-step shoes?

As soon as a child begins to make its first walking attempts, baby shoes and socks should be replaced with first-step shoes. The first-step shoe is a great creation in the children’s footwear industry - it is like a normal shoe, yet it has a flexible sole and is made up of soft materials to best help children with their very first steps. First-step shoes should imitate the ‘barefooted’ feel as much as possible whilst still giving some grip. This shoe must also be adapted to the weather, which means that children who start to walk in the winter will need warmer first-step shoes than those who do so in the summer.

Should children’s shoes grip around the ankle?

Shoes for children should hold the foot providing stability without restricting. This is done by the incorporation of a solid cap in the heel, which is a basic for any shoe. It used to be believed that shoes for early runners should encompass the ankle, yet this has been proven to be false - the only exception being if a physician or orthopedist recommends this for medical reasons. However it should be noted that a shoe such as a Chuck boot, which is ankle high due to fashion or weather purposes, does not damage an older child’s foot in any way. However not every fashionable shoe is suited for young children preparing to take their first steps.

There is not a single garment that should be picked out considering health as much as the shoe. Babies are born, generally, with healthy feet; it is later in life that misalignments occur and that is too often because of ill-fitting shoes.

How long do children’s shoes fit?

The timeframe over which a shoe fits depends on the age of the child. Small children will often outgrow their shoes within three months, whilst children in primary school can often wear their shoes for a whole season. And because well-fitted shoes are fundamental to the correct development of the foot, we can only recommend that a size check up is done regularly.

Which is better - lace or velcro?

Lace-up shoes and velcro shoes are equally as good. For children velcro shoes are easier to put on and take off - tying up the laces is more complicated than doing up the velcro. Nonetheless, parents should check up to make sure that even velcro shoes are closed properly, as otherwise the shoe will not fit as intended. Shoes that are not closed well will slip on and off as a child walks and cause blisters. When it comes to wearing comfort, velcro and lace-up are equally as good.

Are there manufacturers that produce only narrow or only wide shoes?

There are no manufacturers that produce exclusively narrow or wide shoes. All manufacturers produce shoes in different widths. As expert retailers we know which fits how. It is important to know that a child’s foot is not uniform, less so than that of an adult. Hence, size is often just an indication. A size 28 can fit well with one manufacturer, and a size 29 can fit equally with another.

Considering this issue, buying shoes at Kleine Helden Berlin ensures expert consulting to find the perfect fit.

Do children need shoes to change into?

A good shoe should be able to absorb a decent amount of humidity, it should fit the foot and provide grip. This shoe should protect from the cold, wet and dirt. No matter how high the quality of the shoe, daily wear strains it and restricts functionality. It is particularly important that a shoe ‘breathes’, a function that is restricted through the sweating of the feet if the shoe is not given time to ‘rest’. Afterall, the shoe absorbs the foot´s moisture but it must also be given time to release this moisture, and this takes time. This is why a change of shoes is important. Rule of thumb: wear one day, let rest the next.

Can you pass on shoes to another child?

A good shoe will fit the foot, not vice versa. This means that the shoe will form according to the foot, allowing for the foot to have enough space to grow freely, though still providing enough support. How long it takes for a shoe to fit itself to a foot depends on the materials, wear and stress that the shoe is exposed to. This forming also depends on how the child rolls the foot - something which is individual to each person. Hence, passing shoes on is not recommended. This does not apply for shoes that have not been worn enough to have fitted around a specific foot and are in a good hygienic state.

Can I reorder single sizes of shoes?

It is not possible for a retailer to purchase single sizes - the whole range must be ordered.

Is there a guarantee on shoes?

Shoes are wearable items, and so there is no guarantee on them. If a shoe is damaged, for example by driving on bobbycars, it is not the responsibility of the retailer or manufacturer.

The way the shoe is used should be considered when it is bought. A soft, chic shoe is less suitable for wild playing in a playground than a rugged shoe. Then again, a playground shoe is not suitable for a festive affair. These different events call for different shoes, which in turn means that the child can get as much wear out of them as possible.

Why buy children’s shoes at a specialized retailer?

Because as a customer you will not experience as much expertise anywhere else. At the specialized retailer, staff know how to measure feet and which shoes are appropriate. Children’s shoes are a product that needs to be tried on and advised about, something which is not possible online.

Kleine Helden Berlin is a specialist shop for children’s shoes in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.

Children can try on the shoes and take them home straight away, with expert advice and without the delivery time.

Buying shoes without children?

It is not always possible to bring together the whole family for shoe shopping - and so it is often the case that parents buy shoes for their children without the children being there. Kleine Helden – Shoes for Kids can, of course, only give the correct personalised advice if we are able to fit the shoe to the foot itself.

However, one can also try to buy the right shoe in the right size. It is useful to bring an stencil. A stencil is made by tracing around the child’s foot with a pencil on a piece of paper. At Kleine Helden Berlin we will try to find the perfect fit using this. You can then go home and try on the shoes with no rush - if they do not fit, then we can refund them within three days, as long as they have not been worn.