Since Ladybug started walking last month, I have been searching for appropriate footwear for her. Because of my requirements, this is not an easy task. I want a soft, flexible shoe; made from natural materials; and made in North America. If I weren’t so picky, I could waltz into any children’s store in town and pick up a pair of Robeez but, alas, they are made in China.
I have managed to purchase a wonderful pair of indoor shoes that fit the bill. While indoor shoes and socks are not necessary, and it is recommended that toddlers go barefoot in the house, our hardwood floors coupled with the fact that it is winter in Canada make for some cold tootsies. Enter the lovely Padraig slippers. I am obsessed with these natural, flexible, warm, and machine washable gems. They are artisan-made in Vancouver, Canada, and come in loads of fun colours. I’ve been giving them as gifts to all our toddler friends.
Last year, I received the gift of a great pair of boots for Ladybug called STONZ. They are weather-proof, soft, flexible, and cute. They even fit over Padraigs, for extra warmth, if you buy a size up. Sadly, as the company has grown, they no longer make their product in Canada. This year I chose to go with a Quebec-made boot that is virtually identical in design, with the addition of some poly-fill and without the cute appliqués. The Sherpa Chic-Choc boot is an easy on and off, and keeps Ladybug’s feet toasty down to -25 degrees.
The snow, however, will not last forever, and my daughter’s feet continue to grow at a rapid rate. Because children under two go up an average of a half shoe size every two months, it is important to replace shoes and socks frequently. Improper fit can lead to a lifetime of foot problems. Measuring your child’s foot is recommended before purchasing any new shoe. Toddlers are meant to wear shoes that are breathable and as close to the barefoot experience as possible to ensure healthy musculoskeletal development. Shoes should never be handed down because they conform to the feet of the first wearer.
So, what is a fashion-interested, budget-minded, eco-conscious mama to do? Fret no more, dear reader, for I have found two lovely solutions. Both are made in the USA and fit all my requirements. The first, Soft Star Shoes hails from Oregon, is made from American-sourced leather, dyed with food-grade dyes, available in vegan styles, and is handcrafted and customizable.
The other, Bear Feet Shoes is of Texan provenance, boasts beautiful styling, and is made from American and European materials (some of which are also organic).
While neither company is giving their product away, considering the time, effort and materials employed, I think they are very well-priced. A child’s footwear is certainly not the place to scrimp or sacrifice quality, as my mother reminded me the other day. We do, after all, spend many years on our feet.
For a more in depth exploration of footwear for kids, please read the excellent article from Runner’s World Running Times here.
The children’s foot facts were sourced from:
Foot Health – Children