Check to make sure there is about 0.5-to-0.65 inches (1.5 cm-to-2 cm) of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. This space allows the toes to spread out for better comfort and stability.
Push down on the "vamp" (front of the shoe). It should not be tight over the top of the foot and allow some space for movement.
Put your finger between the back of the shoe and your child's foot, along the heel. Your finger should fit snugly between your child's heel and the back of the shoe.
- Friction between the shoe's back and your child's heel will cause blisters over time. If the shoe back fits too loosely, it's likely to come off during normal wear and can cause gait problems as the child will overcompensate.
- The back of the shoe against the ankle and heel should be firm and preferably made of plastic. Softer materials will break down and won't help keep your child's foot locked into the shoe. This can lead to loose, floppy shoes or an awkward gait while walking.
Flex your child's foot at the ankle from side to side. Shoes that rub against the ankle can cause blisters, calluses or contribute to foot injury. Friction may be caused by shoes that are too large or bulky for your child's foot and leg.
Press the outer side of your child's shoe to feel for your child's little toe. You should be able to feel the toe, not pressed firmly against the shoe wall, but able to flex within. The fit is too small if the toe presses against the shoe wall.
Look at the inside arch of the shoe. There should be an "arch support"--a contoured piece to fit your child's foot. The slope of the arch should start at the base of your child's big toe.