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How should sandals fit?

Girl wearing sandals

No matter your age, is there anything more joyous than storing away your boots, popping on a pair of sandals and feeling the breeze between your toes for that first taste of summer? It’s the sensation that summer has arrived! With a great choice of colours and styles available in our sandals for girls and sandals for boys collections, now is the perfect time to select a style that will keep your little ones looking and feeling cool during the warmer summer days ahead.

As fitted footwear specialists, we put as much emphasis on finding the right fit for sandals as we do for our school shoe or winter collection. Squeezed toes, slipping feet or blisters are no fun for feet eager to experience everything that summer has to offer. When it comes to children’s shoes, comfort is always key.

Here are our top tips for getting the best fit.

How to stop feet sliding forward in sandals.

Firstly, it’s important to get a style that will fit the shape of the foot. On the face of it, sandals might all look quite similar but there will be some styles with a wider upper that might not fit a narrow foot, and this is where versatile fastenings come in to play. You need to make sure that the top of the shoe can be pulled snug to your little one’s foot to stop it slipping. Secondly, the back of the shoe should be padded so that hard leather doesn’t rub soft skin when the upper is pulled tight to keep the foot in place. Look for sandals with padded insoles too because this will provide maximum comfort while your child is wearing them with bare feet and add a little extra protection from slipping.

Some of the fitting advice for shoes is the same whether you are wearing a school style, a winter style or a sandal. Check the heel is gripping the ankle well and not baggy, otherwise the foot will more easily slip forward. In terms of width, feel along each side of the shoe with your hand, you shouldn't feel any pressure or bulging at the sides, and the widest part of the foot should be in the widest part of the shoe. For depth, make sure the skin isn’t bulging around the top of the sandal and always ask your child to walk in the sandals before wearing them properly, to check they don’t rub, or slip when they take a step. The shoes should not slip off at the heel and there should be no excessive gaping.

Should you buy sandals a size bigger?

You must always buy shoes that fit the size and shape of the foot. With some sandals or brands there might not be the option of multi-width fittings. In the case of very wide feet, it is possible to take a half or whole length size up as this serves the purpose of also increasing the width. If you are tempted to do this, be careful to choose styles that have flexible rip-tape or buckle fastenings so that you are able to draw the shoe round the foot for a snug, comfortable fit.

It’s also advisable to try on sandals without socks on, as this is how your child is likely to wear them. Ask your child to walk around the shop (or at home if buying online) to get a good feel for the sandal. Check they are walking normally, that they are not scrunching their toes or locking their knees to keep the shoe in place, as all these changes to their natural walking style could cause them painful issues in the long term.

Choose a pair with adjustable fastenings.

While the benefits of adjustable fastenings are clear for people with particularly narrow, or wide feet, another reason why they are useful for summer sandals is that our feet expand in the heat. You may find you have bigger feet during the summer months and your normal size feels more snug than usual. Adjustable fastenings will help to get the fit correct if your little one’s feet are slightly swollen with the heat, because the swelling will increase the width and height of the foot and not the length. And on this subject, if possible try on shoes during the afternoon or evening, when feet are at their most swollen. In the morning, they will be at their least.

Try leather linings.

Naturally busy feet will sweat more in the summer months and without socks to absorb the sweat, there is an increased chance of feet slipping or shoes feeling uncomfortable. Leather is a more absorbent material so when shopping for sandals look for soft leather uppers and linings that will help to absorb excess moisture.

Enjoy hunting our sandals collection for your perfect summer sandal together and all the adventures you will enjoy together wearing them!