Shoes for Children

Fitting Kids for Shoes

For parents, buying shoes for children can seem like a perpetual expense. Children's feet grow rapidly, and they may need several pairs from birthday to birthday. With the amount of daily activity children are engaged in, it's also necessary to have the right shoe and the proper fit. Read on for some kids' footwear essentials and money-saving tips.

Where to Buy Children's Shoes

Traditional Stores

A number of stores offer a good selection of children's shoes. Find a location near you and call before heading-out to see if they have a good selection of children's shoes to choose from.

  • Kohl's - This popular department store offers offer a large selection of kid's shoes.
  • Dillards - This department store, which is popular in the southern states, also carries many styles of children's shoes.
  • Nordstrom- Though this store is considered to be higher-end, they do have some sales where parents can get high-quality merchandise at a discount. They also have an outlet chain known as Nordstrom Rack that offers discounted shoes.
  • Stride Rite - This store specializes in selling children's shoes. They offer styles for kids of all ages and also have outlet stores for bargain hunters.
  • Footlocker - This shoe store offers a variety of athletic shoes for kids of all ages, but also has some street shoes and boots in their inventory.
  • Payless Shoes - This low-cost shoe store offers every type from gym shoes to dress. They often have good shoe buying incentives like "Buy One, Get One Half Off" sales. They offer shoes for both girls and boys.
  • The Children's Place - This store offers full outfits with shoes to match. Though they don't have a huge selection, they do carry some unique designs and good deals.
  • Target - Find a good selection of shoes at a discounted price at the local Target store. They offer some name brand styles and have their own labels too. The store offers C9 by Champion and other name brands for boys and fashionable shoes for girls.
  • Kmart - This discount retailer usually offers quite a few different styles at low prices. Their girls shoes include some popular character brands like Dora and Moxie and their boys section includes Spiderman and other character shoes.
  • Walmart - This mass merchandiser has a wide variety of different shoes for every age child at low prices. They offer styles for babies and toddlers, girls and boys.
  • FamousFootwear - This shoe retailer offers a lot of different types of shoes for all sizes. They have dress shoes, sandals, athletic shoes and other popular styles. Check-out their girls and boys section for a good selection of name brands.
  • Journeys -This store is often found in major shopping malls and offers popular name brands for kids of all ages including Vans, Nike and Crocs. Click on the Infant, Toddler, Tween and Youth header for more search options.
  • Finish Line - Of course this store has athletic shoes, but they also carry other types of kids shoes.
  • JCPenney - This department store offers a fairly large season shoe section for kids.

Online Stores

Shopping online can also yield incredible savings, so if you can't find a color, style or size for a particular shoe you are looking for in the store, check the retailers' web site. You might find some good discounts or sales online. You may also want to check-out some retailers that only sell via the Internet and don't have a physical retail space.

  • Zappos - This online only retailer has an enormous selection of shoes for children and the whole family. Shop for girls and boys of all ages at this site.
  • Shoe Buy - This site claims to be the world's largest site for shoes and they certainly do have a large variety to choose from.
  • - You'll find a variety of quality, name brand shoes at this site. They have a variety of styles including sneakers, athletic shoes, sandals, boots and other types of shoes for both boys and girls.

Children's Shoe Shopping Tips

Choosing the Proper Size

Fitting Kids Shoes

With children's clothing, parents are often tempted to buy items slightly big so that children can grow into them. This idea can be disastrous when it comes to footwear. Wearing the wrong size of shoe can cause painful blisters, be uncomfortable, and lack the adequate support the child needs in his or her daily activities.

  • There should be a slight give between the child's big toe and the end of the shoe.
  • The shoe should fit comfortably, not rubbing up and down against the heel or pinching the sides or fronts of the toes.

Choose shoes that are the proper width and length for your child's foot. The best method is to have your child's feet measured from a professional shoe salesperson, or you can measure the child's size yourself with the store's shoe-sizing guide.

  • Put your child's foot firmly upright on the measuring apparatus and measure from the toe to the heel.
  • If you are ordering from an online store, the Famous Footwear's Kids' Foot Sizing Chart can be a helpful resource.
  • Be sure to measure both feet; some children's feet differ dramatically, and there may be a half or even a whole size difference between each foot.

Selecting Appropriate Styles

Another important aspect of children's shoes is ensuring your little ones have the appropriate shoes for different activities.

  • Athletics and activities: For active play and running, children should have sturdy athletic shoes. Lace-up shoes are often preferable for athletic activities as Velcro does not have as much precision for a snug fit. Various sports may require different types of shoes in lieu of standard athletic shoes, such as cleats for baseball and soccer.
  • Dress-up: Dress shoes for children are safest with little or no heel and a skid-resistant bottom to avoid falls and injuries. No matter how cute your little darling looks in platform heels, no one will be smiling if she obtains an injury.
  • Casual: Sandals and flip flops are great for summer's heat, but for outdoor and active play, opt for close-toed sport sandals.

Saving Money

Small Child's Shoe

Particularly in cases when families have multiple children, buying shoes can cause a squeeze on the budget. Unlike hand-me-down clothes, pre-worn shoes are not generally recommended, since the sole can be worn and the shoe molded from the other child's foot.

As an alternative, shop mid to end of season at department and shoe stores for mark-downs on name brand shoes. Sign up for online announcements of new sales from stores that sell children's shoes. In addition to pre-notification of their upcoming sales, you may often receive additional coupons or discounts as well.

Children's Shoes Wardrobes

How many children's shoes does a parent need to buy? A little boy may feel like one pair of beat-up tennis shoes is enough, while some little girls would be happy with a closet filled with glittering dress shoes.

For typical children, the following children's shoe wardrobes will suffice:


If you live in a cold or snowy climate, you should plan on:

Kids Rain Boots
  • One pair of insulated snow boots
  • One pair of athletic or gym shoes
  • One pair of dress shoes
  • One pair of school shoes


For most areas, spring brings plenty of rain and mud along with new flowers. Plan on:

  • One pair of rain boots or galoshes
  • One pair of school shoes
  • One pair of athletic or gym shoes
  • One pair of dress shoes
  • One to two extra pair of play shoes that are permitted to get dirty


The warm weather may bring visions of running barefoot in the grass to children, but parents know better. Your children's shoes for summer should include:

  • One pair of sandals, flip-flops, or sports slides for the beach or pool
    Purple Sneakers
  • One pair of rubber soled water shoes for rivers, lakes, or pools with roughened concrete
  • One pair of sports sandals or athletic shoes
  • One pair of dress sandals or shoes


The whisper of cooler weather and a new school year may prompt:

  • One pair of lightly lines boots
  • One pair of school shoes
  • One pair of dress shoes
  • One pair of athletic/gym shoes
  • One pair of "mudding" or play shoes

Making Room for New Shoes

There are plenty of ways to make room for your children's new shoes every season. Consider keeping the older shoes that still fit as play shoes. Having an old pair that can get dirty and muddy is a good way to pro-long the life of the new shoes. Those with no or little wear can be sold or donated to a good cause such as the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Shoes for Children