Your little kicker may not be World Cup material yet, but there's no reason she shouldn't look the part in a pair of toddler soccer cleats.
Toddlers and Soccer
You're never too young to play soccer. Just ask the four million kids who participate in various local youth soccer leagues across the United States. Youth soccer is enormously popular among school age children thanks in large part to the media coverage it receives each year. However, recently, the sport's largest demographic growth has been among toddlers. Kids as young as two and three years old are getting involved in the sport, though toddler soccer games focus more on having fun than charging the competition.
Whether you enroll your toddler in soccer class as a means for her to get exercise, meet new friends, learn the game or simply burn off extra energy, it's important to get your hands on the right gear. Since soccer focuses on fancy footwork, you will want to invest in proper fitting toddler soccer cleats.
Getting the Right Fit
Soccer cleats for toddlers should be comfortable and functional. You don't want your little one to end up with a foot full of blisters on her first day on the field, so it's important to get cleats that fit properly.
The first step in buying toddler soccer shoes is to have your child's foot sized by an expert. Go to a store that specializes in children's shoes. You don't need to seek out an athletic footwear store right away. Rather, visit a store where workers are accustomed to sizing kids' feet. They know to focus on the length, width and arch of your child's foot.
Length: According to experts, you want about a centimeter to a half-inch of space in the front of the shoe. Also, make sure there is some wiggle room in the back of the cleat. You should be able to slip your pinky finger in the heel of the soccer cleat, but only up to the first knuckle. Anything more than that and your child's foot may slip out when she's running down the field.
Width: Pay close attention to the width of your child's foot. Toddlers tend to have wider feet, though as their feet grow, the length catches up with the width. Cleats that are too wide will be unstable, while soccer shoes that are too tight will constrain your toddler's foot and potentially cause blisters.
Arch: You don't want your toddler's soccer shoes to be too tight through the arch. To avoid this, use the tongue of the shoe as a guide. Experts recommend that the tongue of the cleat and the edges where the laces are located be parallel. If there is too much space between them your child's foot might slip out.
When you are shopping for toddler soccer shoes it's important to remember that cleats differ from brand to brand. For example, a pair of size six Adidas soccer cleats for toddlers might not fit the same way as ones made by Nike.
In addition, always bring a pair of socks when shopping for toddler cleats and allow your child to run around in the store with the shoe on to ensure that you are getting the best possible overall fit.
Where to Buy Toddler Soccer Cleats
While some major department stores carry toddler soccer shoes on a seasonal basis, your best bet is to visit a specialty store or shop online at the following retailers: