WITH LIFE + STYLE CONTRIBUTOR
If the little people in your world deserve a footwear overhaul, then step this way because our Life & Style contributor Lucy Felton is on hand with all the advice to make building their shoe-drobe a breeze…
Happy November all! What a great time of the year it is, particularly for getting out and about with the kids. They just love exploring in the park with the crisp air blowing and sunshine beating down. Plus who doesn’t love that satisfying sound of crunchy autumn leaves under foot? The quote ‘My favourite colour is Autumn’ has never been truer, with all of those rich rusts, chestnut browns, burnt oranges, glistening coppers and berry reds decorating our gardens and lining the pavements. A pure feast for the eyes.
I’m spending my autumn days trying to keep up with my son Hector as I enter the final stretch of my pregnancy. Our little lady is due to arrive this month, meaning I’ve got just a few weeks left to get everything in order – hello, nesting overdrive! To focus on those last precious moments Hector has mama and dada all to himself, we’ve been treating him to some fun days out, like taking him to the local pumpkin patch to pick out his Halloween jack-o’-lantern. There’s so much excitement for our new arrival, but I do sometimes find myself wondering how it’s going to work when I’ve got to suddenly share my time (and love) between siblings. I just know Hector is going to love bossing around his little sister but there’s no denying that it might take a little time for our household to adjust!
When I’m not worrying about how it’s all going to work, you can find me unpacking and repacking my hospital bag, stocking the cupboard with food and sorting every drawer in the house. And that includes the big wardrobe switch-over. Transitioning from summer shorts, t-shirts and sandals to winter trousers, coats and boots is always bittersweet. Sad to see the summer go, happy to get snuggly and toasty in cosy clobber. My biggest challenge has been coaxing Hector out of this favourite trainers and into something hard-wearing and durable for the change in weather. Having spent the early days cramming in as much barefoot time as possible (important for sensory experience and to encourage stability) until he was ready to slip into pre-walkers and then his first shoes, it seems bizarre that I’m now onto building his own cute, mini shoe-drobe. He has more shoes than me!
We knew you guys would love a masterclass in shoe shopping – how to measure, what to buy, where to start and the year-round staples you’ll love. Of course, there’s plenty of Alex and Alexa charm to ensure their footwear’s as punchy as the rest of their closet. Here’s everything you need for finding the perfect fit.
Don’t forget to stop by the comments section below and share your own shoe buying tips, plus let us know what styles you’re snapping up this season. As always, I love hearing from all of you fabulous mamas out there! For more fashion, pregnancy and parenting please come say hi over at my blog The Lucy Edit and Instagram @TheLucyEdit.
Now get going on embracing that fall magic… Bring on the pumpkins, spiced lattes and colour riot woodland walks!
Correctly fitting shoes are important to allow feet to grow and develop naturally.
· First, make sure your child is wearing socks and then place the foot on a flat surface with their heel against a straight edge.
· Pop a rule (a ruler with measurements starting at the edge, opposed to off-set from the edge) beside their foot, ensuring it is lined up with the back of their heel.
· Measure the length in millimetres/centimetres from the tip of the longest toe to the heel. Remember, the longest toe isn’t always their big toe!
· Et voila, you’re done! Now head to our sizing guide to look up the measurements and convert into their shoe size.
2. The Early Days
With soft, flexible, non-formed soles, crib shoes and booties are your first port of call for newborn feet up until baby begins to start moving
· Look out for butter soft leather moccasins and slippers, sweet knitted booties, pretty Mary Jane’s and T-bars, plus sporty designs, all in easy-to-pull-on or Velcro-strap styles. Get ready for cuteness overload!
· Fun fact: in the first year, once they begin rolling, having tummy time and exploring, it’s important to give them socks-off time every day. Their tiny feet should be feeling all the sensory impact of the materials around them. When they start to crawl and pull themselves up to a standing position, going sockless ensures better grip and stability too
· When socks-off time isn’t possible, particularly in the winter, look out for socks with grips on the soles. Often these are little rubber spots
2. Pre-walkers & First Walkers Shoes
It’s all change from here guys! You’ll know they’re ready for a pair of pre-walker or first walker shoes when they start to pull themselves up to a standing position and begin cruising along the edge of the sofa. You’ll also need something semi-sturdy now there’s opportunity to take them out of the pram for a little toddle around when out and about
· Their first shoes should be lightweight with a durable yet flexible sole. They shouldn’t wear the hard-soled shoes we all wear just yet, as those tiny soft bones in their feet are still very soft and delicate. Spot the adorable layer of fat protecting the bones on the top of the feet? This will slowly start to disappear as they grow and the bones harden.
Look out for styles with toe-scuffs which protect shoes from all that crawling
· Practically should be paramount when they’re learning to walk, but at Alex and Alexa that needn’t mean compromising on cool details, fancy finishes and jazzy add-on’s, however tiny they are!
4. Shoes For Their Second Year
Once they’re walking around the house with ease and taking their first steps outside (yep, you still need the pram as they won’t be able to go as far as you think!) then baby trainers are a great place to start. They’re easy to get on, comfortable and flexible enough for those precious, growing soft bones. Velcro straps are a no-brainer while clever elastic laces make pull-on sporty styles an option too. A leather finish will mean they’ll withstand puddles in the winter
· Classic styles like a smart, leather shoe with a crepe sole, a ballerina pump with a strap or patent buckle-up T-bar will go with everything and provide a smarter look for days out and party season
· For the warmer months and holidays jelly shoes and strappy sandals provide support while tackling the beach, sea and park with ease. Remember to leave enough room at the ends for growth, but not so much that they become a trip hazard
· Wellingtons are essential, just remember it might take them a few wears to get used to the sensation of rubber boots! Planning on doing a full day’s walking? Throw another shoe option under the pram because wellies can quickly tire out tiny feet.
BLUE CITY VINE SUEDE LO SHOES
5. Building A Versatile Collection (2+ Years)
Now they’re well on their way to being a confident walker and running at every chance they get, it’s time to get a bit more experimental with your shoe choices
· Building a collection of shoes and boots to cover every occasion is key and now is the time to get your kids involved in choosing their shoes too. Encourage them to try to put shoes on themselves and learn to fasten. Practice makes perfect!
· Casual after-school options like plimsolls, hi-tops and running trainers provide a great all year round option. Same goes for leather trainers with a smarter finish, which can be a great kids alternative to dress shoes too – just add jeans and a blazer.
School shoes should be hardwearing, practical, smart and most importantly, something they want to be seen in every day!
· Smart styles like brogues, boat shoes and loafers add party polish
· For winter, you’ll need a couple of pairs of good boots. Choose something for everyday activities, like a leather Chelsea style, chunky-soled lace-up or shearling pull-on. Snow boots and hiker boots are great wet weather winners and there’s plenty of fun finishes to choose from.
· During the warmer months focus on shoes that are lightweight, breathable and perfect for the beach and park. They’ll live in trainers, mix it up by trying a slip-on style. A good quality pair of leather sandals can be just as comfy once worn in too.
6. They’ve Arrived, Now Check The Fit
Feel for the end of your child’s longest toe to check there’s room to grow. Kids feet grow at quite a rate (sometimes two sizes a year up until they are four!) so aim for about a thumbs width of space between the longest toe and front of the shoe
· There should be no pinching or tightness at the sides. Check they can wiggle their little toes easily.
· Sit them down and pull the back of the shoe slightly, it should grip the heel well and not slip about.
· Watch them walk around a little. Make sure they are moving easily and that the shoes are not bulky or stopping them from walking freely.
7. Sizing Guides For Different Countries
Here at Alex and Alexa, we champion great kids brands from all around the globe and that can sometimes mean sizes can vary. Fear not, head to our Shoe Size Chart to find out what size to order your favourites in.