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These feet are made for walking

We've been holding out on buying new shoes for our biggest girl for some time. She started first grade at her new school in her tattered Teva's, her shoes of the summer.  By the end of her first week of school, we realized we couldn't wait for her birthday. We HAD to get her new functional multi-use shoes: something comfy for all the walking we do, something anti-stink for all the funk that can arise, something durable for all the kicking at rocks or stomping in leaves she does, something feminine for her inner-princess inside. We ended up at the Nordstrom downtown. Here are some tips and pointers the kid-shoe professionals shared with us:

Get real. For combatting the shoe stink, go with real leather over rubber or synthetics. Geox makes great aerated shoes with holes in the soles for maximum breathing. A "microporous sole" is what they call it.

Measure up. Getting sized up is important, having the kids heel pushed all the way to the bottom of the measuring device and having them stand to place all weight on the foot being measured. When the shoe's on, a thumb-sized gap is good growing room, not soo much space that the shoe is floppy.

Width matters. Some shoes run wide (like German brand Elephanten or Stride Rite), some run narrow (like Italian brand Primigi). Trying them on will definitely give a feel whether the width is right: a good snug but not tight fit.

Buy new. Being an avid consigner/purchaser of formerly-loved consigned goods, this is not what I wanted to hear. The kid-shoe professional told us that each child wears in their shoe so the sole conforms to their own foot. Wearing another child's shoe can hinder the growth of the foot or even damage the foot. I guess it makes sense.

Anyone else have tips to share on finding the right shoes for our little people's feet?  Any must-go shoe spots?  Imelda's for kids?  Finally, a question from Karli:

I need to get my 20 month old some new shoes!  We've been buying him See Kai Runs, but he needs a size 9 now, and he's been walking for quite a while, so I don't know if this brand is what he needs at this point, since they are geared for early walkers.  Any suggestions?  I don't know which brand to go with or where to get them. 

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i have recently purchased my second pair of shoes for my 15 month old (2-3 months now of walking). i have been very impressed by the shoe store, Haggis McBaggis, in sellwood. they are very thoughtful and give good advice on children's shoes. my only complaint with them is that they do not have the widest size selection (especially for sizes 3-5). i have purchased a Norstroms, and i think that they are very good also.

i personally like stride rites (which is interesting regarding the comment above...as my child has quite narrow, non fat feet, and they fit the best!). i lust for some ecco mary janes...but they (like other euro brands) run wide AND typically no half sizes!

Clogs and More for Kids on Hawthorne is good at measuring kids' feet. Plus they've got (non-clog) cute kid shoes.

I also love Haggis McBaggis! My daughter is 2 and we've pretty much bought every pair of shoes there. She has wide feet and the Ecco shoes are an amazing fit for her. We bought her last pair in April & she's still wearing them! The staff is really friendly and educated on the various shoe brands/functions. Good luck!

I LOVED Clogs and More, they had the CUTEST moccasins that my baby just loved and ran around the store in, but I find them a little steep in price. Anyone have any suggestions for the moms of less means? Something that might cost less but not warp our children's growing feet???

There's a Stride Rite store in the Woodburn Outlet Mall, halfway between Portland and Salem. The prices there are usually quite good, and if you hit a sale, you can find shoes for about half the price you'd pay in town. So far, the salespeople have been helpful about measuring feet and finding sizes, although it's more of a self-service kind of store.

I second Haggis. It's a great store and the folks who own it are awesome and very helpful with fit! We've had the best luck with shoes that cost a bit more. Ultimately they are more comfortable and durable. Our daughter loves the Primigi brand. Make sure to get on their mailing list so you can shop their annual sales.

see kai run does go up to size 9, i just bought a pair for my daughter at polliwog on belmont around 30th. they also have other shoes available there, including a great rain boot selection.

We also loved Primigi at that age. Very flexible but w/a decent sole for walking outdoors. Haggis McBaggis is a lovely store. We had purchased ours from Hanna Anderson.
Good Luck!

i love stride rite which i don't think necessarily runs wide but they do have three widths - medium, wide and extra wide. this has been great for my wide footed toddler. i also love see kai run's but found that once my own kai could really run, he wore them out very quickly. they are great for new walkers but not so much for those that are more sure footed. i've had several pairs of each and have found that stride rite quality is hard to beat.

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