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Do toddlers NEED clarks shoes?

(32 Posts)
Emma2803 Sun 07-May-17 08:29:49

Just wondering do little ones really need the more expensive brands of shoes Clarks Start Rite etc? Are trainers eg Nike addidas unbranded etc damaging to their "soft bones"?
Is it to do with the structure of the shoes or more about having shoes that fit properly and aren't too small or too tight?

PastysPrincess Sun 07-May-17 08:32:49

I wouldn't say they necessarily need a particular brand but they do need shoes which give them the proper support. They also need to be measured to ensure they are wearing the correct size. I normally try and get something in the clarkes sale.

IfNotDuffers Sun 07-May-17 08:35:24

Nope. They need protection from sharp things, water and nothing that will squash their toes (so long enough and wide enough - toddlers have a different shaped foot to adults, wider at the toes).

I use Happy Little Soles, but they're not cheap. Have a look at their advice page and then apply that to whatever shoes you choose to buy.

Wolfiefan Sun 07-May-17 08:39:18

When mine started walking they were in soft leather shoes. Like pram shoes. Just to keep feet warm but not squash toes.
No they don't NEED Clarks shoes BUT they should have their feet measured for shoes and have them properly fitted as they start to really walk. Trainers aren't ideal. I would prefer leather and proper support. Their bones are easy to bend out of shape.

GinnyBaker Sun 07-May-17 08:39:20

There's one of those cheapo shoe shops near me (Deichman I think?) that has a children's section at the back with the children's measuring gauges on the wall so you can do it yourself. I just take DS in there, measure and then buy some nice shoes at the nct sale/ebay/m and s.

Not sure I'd want him in trainers all the time, as they aren't that supportive, DS wears proper chunky leather shoes on most of the time, wellies for muddy walks and trainers for football games.

Emma2803 Sun 07-May-17 08:39:30

I suppose what I'm asking then is do the Clarks startrite etc offer BETTER support and if so how? What is the difference?

Intransige Sun 07-May-17 08:40:05

We have a Clarks toddler foot gauge that measures foot length and width. I use it to find the size then buy barefoot shoes on the internet eg bobux - they have more flexible soles that are apparently better for developing feet. This is not a cheaper approach, mind you! I just don't like a lot of Clark's shoes, the soles are too inflexible.

Re buying cheaper shoes, we do have some as backup e.g. in case of wee accidents. I tend to wiggle them to see if the soles are flexible, and have a look to see how cushioned the insole is. Hard soles and totally flat firm insoles aren't great for anyone's feet, let alone growing ones.

C0untDucku1a Sun 07-May-17 08:43:35

Feel them. You can feel the difference in the lelli kelly school shoes I get my daughter, and that last the entire school year if she doesn't grow and still look brand new, compared to m&s or asda shoes. I do buy m&s, but not for school. They feel so much thinner. My friend buys clarks for school. Has needed two pairs because the top layer came off. She buys her boy cheap shoes and goes through 3-4 pairs a school year.

TheNumberfaker Sun 07-May-17 09:01:23

I always bought Clarks or Startrite for my girls as toddlers. They would have one main pair of shoes and then some wellies/crocs as well. Toddlers grow out of shoes so quickly I ever saw the point in buying loads of pairs the same size. Now they are both at school, they have Startrite school shoes plus a few other supermarket shoes for kicking around at the weekend.

MoreProseccoNow Sun 07-May-17 09:06:40

I think the sizing in Nike is different (US sizes) & in my local store the staff are unhelpful & untrained. So it's a gamble trying to get shoes.

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 07-May-17 10:03:16

I'd also recommend reading the advice one the Happy Little Soles website as well. Not cheap but not much different to buying Clarks. It's changed my thinking about children's shoes.

2ndSopranos Sun 07-May-17 16:24:41

I got seriously flamed for admitting on a Fb parenting group that I sometimes didn't buy Clarks shoes for my toddlers. It was as if I'd said I fed them plates of bees for lunch.

I simply wouldn't get away with Clarks for anything other than school shoes for dd1 (9.5) now. No way. Just throwing this out there because I'm still slaughtered by parents of younger dc for not buying Clarks all the time.

User48627 Sun 07-May-17 17:35:36

I think good quality shoes are important but by 'quality' I mean soft soles, Clarks stop soft soles at around a 6 I think.

Cheapy shoes are like walking on a bit of board, they need to bend and flex. I wouldn't buy an I'll fitting poorly designed shoe for myself, let alone for a growing developing child.

C0untDucku1a Sun 07-May-17 19:06:26

I Honestly do Not think clarks are good quality shoes. Ive not had a pair where the top layer hasnt been worn off the toe area.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 07-May-17 19:09:44

Toddlers absolutely do not need supportive shoes. Barefoot is best, where this is not practical, shoes need to be as close to barefoot as possible, so super light and totally flexible including the sole.

As others have said Happy Little Soles have excellent fitting advice on their website, and the owners are also very helpful if you want extra help.

Maryann1975 Sun 07-May-17 19:30:39

I will add my two pence worth and say that just because clarks measure your child's feet at a size 7 (or whatever) does not mean that an Asda pair of size 7s will be the perfect fit.
I am a 6 in some shoes, 6.5 in others and a 7 for some others. It depends on the fit.
So don't assume that because clarks say one thing you can take their measurement as gospel. That's why Clarks fit the shoes as well as measure them.
And I know that Asda shoes offer very little support and end up just being their to stop stones going in to child's feet (DDS friend has some and her mum is always going on about how much cash she is saving on cheap shoes when her daughter is struggling to keep said shoes, that are falling apart, on her feet, it's very sad). (And before I'm judged for judging them, if the mother can afford new and lovely clothes and shoes, she should treat her daughter in the same way).
We don't always use clarks, we go to an independent, who does sell clarks but also other ranges and buy what fits best (1child v. Narrow feet 1 very wide).

Summerisdone Sun 07-May-17 19:38:34

I got DS a pair of Clarks as his first pair of shoes. Since then I haven't gotten anymore as I just find it so difficult to find a pair I like for boys in Clarks.
He's 2 now and apart from his one pair of Clarks he has always had Dr Martens. They're not cheap but they're definitely nicer than Clarks and tbh not too different in price, I also shop around a lot and try to buy them in the sales.
I do also get him trainers to wear more in the summer as his Dr Martens are a bit too warm to wear with his shorts when it's hot.

I always take him to a local children's shoe shop to get measured so I can ensure he's wearing the correct size.

adagio Sun 07-May-17 20:05:28

Do your research so you understand what you are looking for - we did most of the toddler stage in various colours of startrite flexisoft Milan for DD. There was always some colour or other in the sale. They are sort of like trainers in style - double Velcro straps ensuring a good fit on her narrow feet and a reasonably soft sole. I liked the clarks crawling shoes for softness, but their walkers are quite firm. I've also had some great winter boots from Asda which fitted beautifully.

We also have had various trainers - always in the sale - Nike, adidas, converse. To be honest the adidas superstars have the most awesome insoles - literally like walking on air - I will be hunting them out again. Husband got them as he liked them in the sale so it's great they are also so comfy.

As my DD has narrow feet I have no problem with the mounded plastic toe bit, suspect if she was wider it might be a problem. Multiple Velcro straps (or trainers) seems to give a much better fit than Mary Janes - I'm dreading school shoes in September as finding something that fits, keeps her feet dry, and meets the peer pressure (yes it seems to have started already at 4 hmm) and isn't too pricey might be difficult.

To answer your question, it doesn't have to be Clarke's but it does need to fit well.

IfNotDuffers Sun 07-May-17 20:17:05

@adagio DD2 has very high, narrow feet - Bobux fits her well. So you might want to try those for your DD. They do a few in black (though I wish they did more, but they're a NZ brand and I don't think they understand the need for black shoes for school as it's different there).

adagio Sun 07-May-17 20:56:43

Great tip thanks IfNotDuffers, will hunt them out!

adagio Sun 07-May-17 20:57:02

Great tip thanks IfNotDuffers, will hunt them out!

RedBugMug Sun 07-May-17 21:02:59

look up tutorials on how to fit shoes yourself.
then just go and buy shoes that fit properly (and also check that 'professional' fitters got it right).
I find shoes at cheap shops (deichmann, next etc) can be ok when on a tight budget.

PoshPenny Sun 07-May-17 21:06:23

Whatever shoes you buy they must be wide enough and not cramp the feet. Children's feet - the foot Is soft cartilage which doesn't harden till the teens - it is easy to damage them and distort the feet by not having properly fitting shoes. The "support" is about making sure that the feet grow correctly rather than being pinched and developing deformities. Hence all the widths and half sizes of clarks and start rite shoes and the premium prices.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sun 07-May-17 21:13:32

Well-fitting shoes don't have to mean clarks or start-rite these days, but do your research and make sure they are suitable-some brands just scale down adult shapes which is not appropriate, children's feet are a very different shape. Clarks and the traditional brands can be better for very broad feet I've found. One excellent piece of advice I was given was to always get them to wear a new pair in the house first for a couple of hours, then take shoes and socks of and examine for red 'hot spots' where shoes are rubbing. If only worn in the house you should be able to exchange them, once worn outside you can't.

Frustratedboarder Sun 07-May-17 21:36:15

Clark's are fucking crap from my experience, and their assistants are trained to get a sale and upsell add-ons wherever possible - my child was declared two different sizes in two separate Clark's shops just two days apart, and in one of them when I asked to try a style in that size was told (after assistant had been out back looking for a while) that they didn't have that shoe in her size bit she would be fine in the next size up as 'this shoe style is sized bigger'... hmm I've also had bad experiences with Clark's as an adult with two pairs of boots starting to literally fall apart at the seams after less than 3 months (was told I'm "heavy on my feet" - at 8½ stone)...

But I digress! grin More progressive recommendations​ have found that children's feet don't actually need "support" - barring malformations their bodies are able to support themselves pretty well - but do generally need (when outdoors) protection and grip, and then the shoe Space to grow and develop​ naturally - so the right length and width for the individual foot - and comfort.

Saying that, m to DC are funny little things who hate anything "well-fitting" in the foot region and will only wear wellies one half the year and Crocs the other so I guess I'm not well placed to advise! grin

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