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Shoes for kids with wide feet
Wide shoes are hard to find
Research shows that proper foot development is essential to toddlers' physical growth and motor skills. Likewise, growing children need proper foot care as they play, run and explore. One article I ran across mentioned that it was better to let a toddler go barefoot than force feet into ill-fitting shoes. Shoes that don't fit will encourage such things as improper arch development, slower developing motor skills an improper ways of moving. Pretty scary stuff. But what can you do when no shoes fit your child's feet?
My little boy only wore socks til he was a year old! That's pretty much because I couldn't find any shoes that would fit his fat feet! He had a high instep and what we lovingly termed "cankles" (calf-ankle). His feet were also very wide. So all the popular, ultra cute baby shoes didn't fit. Most of the booties wouldn't even go over his ankle so we could never get them on. We visited popular stores, chain stores and specialty stores to no avail. So I took it upon myself to start searching. After all, as soon as he started walking, he'd have to have shoes - even if I had to have them custom made!
Seriously, we had his feet measured later - and he was a 2 EEE at one point (his foot overhung the measuring device!)
Brands that make Wide and Extra-Wide shoes
After exhaustive research, I initially found two brands that made shoes that he could wear - one was Stride-Rite - my first lifesaver. They have a great line of both wide shoes for boys and girls - from toddler to gradeschool and up. Sandals, dress shoes, sneakers and boots in all sizes! What could be better. I had to special order of course, but the turnaround time was less than a week. Love this company. The shoes are well made and true to size and didn't pinch or leave marks in his feet.
Later, I also found New Balance - a great company with a large selection of running, cross-training and play sneakers as well as the occasional sandal. These shoes came in extra-wide as well - and I found that the velcro straps made it easier to open the shoe up wide so as to get his foot into the shoe. That high instep makes it hard for the foot to bend enough to get into most slip-ons and he couldn't tie shoes yet, so velcro was fantastic for us. The New Balance shoes come in both Wide and Extra-Wide and there's an exhaustive list of styles. Again, you may have to special order these thru a web site. I certainly couldn't find any local stores that carried them - even the New Balance specialty store. The good news is that New Balance ships quickly too - I never had to wait more than a few days - no matter who I ordered them thru.
When my son entered Kindergarden, thru ads on TV and observing other kids, he was convinced he would simply die if he didn't have a pair of Skechers. Again we went to store after store - nothing would fit his feet - most stores only carried medium widths. Back to the internet I went. Skechers does make a wide shoe - but I fault them for not making any of the "cool" shoes that light up, have designs, etc in the Wide widths. If you want wide Skechers, you are limited to a couple of very plain styles. Nonetheless, even the plain styles are nice-lookign for the most part. They do change, so if you don't like what you see one month, check back again and you might like something the next month, Then order a few in different sizes so you won't get stuck in a panic when your kid outgrows them. My only other complaint with Skechers is that their web site doesn't always have all their styles. They only had white listed on their site last time, but I found a pair of cool Z Straps on the Kohls site. (Kohls also had a pair of Wide width shoes in their real store - kudos to them!) That being said, the Skecher shoes are very good, light weight and true to size and they hold up well to toddler abuse. The pairs I ordered off the Web were a little slower to ship - but after I found that Kohls carried them, that was no longer a problem - so long as they have some in stock next time!