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What characterises a good kid’s shoe?

At VIKING we support the natural development of the child´s foot. The kid’s feet are vulnerable and soft. From an early age, most of the foot consists of soft cartilage. In the worst case, a too-tight indisposed shoe clamps together the soft foot and prevent a healthy development of the anatomy. On average a child takes 19.500 steps each day. This demand great footwear! When the child is not thinking of the fact that they are wearing shoes, you have found the right pair – the foot should be in charge, not the shoe.

The most important task of footwear is to protect the foot from harsh environments, external objects and weather conditions. This while maintaining a good/stable inner climate; “dry and warm” in winter and “dry and cool” in summer. Scandinavian climates, in particular, require shoes that are built to withstand changes in weather conditions, that can be trusted to protect your child’s feet, an area in which VIKING is an expert.

There are some things one should always look for when purchasing shoes and boots for our kids. We’ve outlined these below.

Inside climate

A good foot climate is essential for avoiding blistering and creating comfort for your child. Buying the right footwear for the right season is therefore key. Footwear that doesn’t breathe nor address moisture management should be avoided.

Green kids shoes
Green kids shoes
Good support

The only place the shoe is supposed to be completely stiff is at the heel area. The front of the foot should have good mobility. At VIKING we follow the principle of not over supporting the child’s foot, allowing for natural movement, as well as a natural strengthening of the child’s foot and leg muscles as they grow.

Great soles

Soles in rubber with a rough pattern gives a good grip. The midsole should be in soft and cushioning materials. The sole should be soft, but in the right areas; it is supposed to be flexible underneath the ball of the foot, but at the same time be stable laterally. This you can check by twisting the sole as a wet cloth and check if it yields.

Pink kids shoes
Pink girls shoes
Reinforcements

A pair of kid’s shoes are exposed for rough usage. Therefore, look for reinforcements on exposed areas such as toes, heel, heel cap, edges and closure mechanisms.

Great looks

Your child´s probably not worrying about functionality. They want the pink, the blue, the shoe that is blinking or the one with the frog on. No matter the weather conditions. At this point, you should be conscious of two things when shopping for shoes. If you make sure the shoe satisfies the operational demands, the child should be a part of the process of choosing the style. This will also contribute to removing conflicts evolving around the dressing.

Kids blue sneakers
BOA kids shoes
Simple closing mechanisms

Smart constructions and closing mechanisms that are customized for the child´s age makes it easier for both the child and the parent, as well as the daycare employees. Velcro is well known, but modern mechanisms such as Boa® can simplify the dressing routines. Furthermore, something as simple as a loop can give the child a sense of achievement.

Choose the right shoe size

All feet are different – also the smallest ones. If you know, what characterizes the child’s foot you have a better starting point when choosing the right size. Is the foot wide, is it high, or is your child flatfoot? These things are good to know before going shopping for shoes.

Also, have this in mind:

  • A kid’s foot is in development and does not have the same shape as an adult’s foot.
  • The younger the child, the more extra space you have left as a growth margin, allowing for the child´s foot to grow in the shoe.
  • Estimate 1-1.5cm growing space in the summer 1.5-2cm in the winter. Winter footwear should be roomier as insolation against cold.
  • Make sure the shoe is easy to get on the foot. A good opening and wide instep give the child, parents and daycare employees a better experience.
  • The edge on the shoe represents the feet’s shape. How ergonomic is it? Is it similar to the feet’s shape?
  • Remember that lining also demands space, and make sure there is room for thick socks inside the winter boots.
Blue kids shoes

A recurrent issue is the one regarding the instep and width. How wide the foot actually is – is one thing. In addition, you have to think about the volume and the height of the foot. Kids with a low instep fit most shoes, if your child has a high instep, you should choose a shoe that can adapt to this, to avoid pressure points and discomfort. Help your child try on different shoes; to figure out which footwear fit’s your child the best.

Kid’s feet grow fast and we, therefore, recommend that you measure your child’s foot.

Do not measure the foot in the morning, rather do it later in the day after the kids have been inactivity.

Winter boots for kids

Winter can mean different things, depending on where you live. What winter boots the child should wear depending on the weather conditions in your region. If we focus on what is important no matter climate, the most important thing a winter shoe should provide is to keep the feet warm and dry.

Let us start with the basics. Finding a winter boot that is waterproof and with a good lining is crucial. Wet shoes are not only uncomfortable, but they will also lose their thermal properties, making your child’s feet cold. Moisture also makes the skin more sensitive to blistering and creates an unhealthy climate for your child’s feet. Therefore, waterproofness should be a key feature of your child’s winter footwear, in combination with a lining suitable for the weather conditions in your region.

What is crucial to keeping the water out of the shoe and the feet dry? In practice, you have three choices:

1) Rubber boots (Material: Rubber)

The rubber is waterproof but not breathable. In practice, this means that humidity does not escape from the boot. Therefore, lined rubber boots are preferred, as the lining contributes to transport the humidity away from the foot. Linings can vary from thin moisture-wicking synthetics to wool blends, suitable for different weather conditions. All Viking models have a removable insole, which can be removed to dry, an essential feature to keeping your child’s feet dry.

2) Thermo Boots (Material: Polyurethane (PU), Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) or EVA)

Just as for rubber, PU is waterproof but not breathable. What makes PU extra practical in the winter is its insulating properties. This material consists of millions of tiny air bubbles. These contribute to better insulation against the cold. These materials are also very light. In boots made of PU you find a woollen lining that is a perfect mix of wool and synthetic fibre; wool, with its natural insolation properties, contribute to keeping your child’s feet warm while absorbing humidity from the foot, and the synthetics fibres maintain and strengthens the lining, preventing wear and making it last longer – good for both your child and the environment! A lined PU boot can easily be worn down to minus 20 degrees Celsius and all Viking models have a removable insole, which can be removed to dry, an essential feature to keeping your child’s feet dry.

3) Waterproof and GORE-TEX-Boots (Material: Membrane)

The best from both worlds; waterproof yet breathable. The membrane makes sure humidity from the foot escapes (“breathes”), while water from the outside is kept out of the shoe, creating dry conditions. Viking combines waterproof membranes with a variety of linings, suitable for a multitude of weather conditions and climates.

4) Winter boots in leather

The leather boot is the classic winter boot and it is still popular among many parents. Leather is nature’s own material, and it has the advantage of shaping itself after the foot as the shoe is being used. Overall, leather boots have good support for the foot, and the material is durable and lasting. A leather boot breathes, but it is not waterproof itself. Different degrees of water protectiveness can be achieved with impregnation or by lubricating the boot. However, with increased water resistance, the breathable properties will be reduced. Winter boots in leather are most suitable when the weather is cold and snowy or in combination with a waterproof membrane.

Transitional shoes for kids

While winter boots most important task is to keep the kid’s feet warm, it is the transitional shoe job to keep the climate comfortable, dry and cool. Shoes worn during spring and autumn are exposed to a variety of weather and rougher usage. Durability, breathability and waterproofness are therefore important.

Sneakers

Mid-high or low, waterproof or not. These are the most important dividers for what we call a sneaker, meaning a shoe that is soft and light, but durable in the right places and inspired by shoes made for athletes.

Without GORE-TEX these shoes are light and airy with reinforcements where it wears the most. The GORE-TEX models are waterproof because of the membrane that is located underneath the outer part of the shoe and is welded together with the lining (this is a light and airy lining intended for warmer days and has nothing in common with fur lining or similar lining that is used in the winter). The membrane lets the humidity from the foot out of the shoe, so the shoe is breathable even though it is waterproof.

A shoe that protects gives good support and is flexible is important for the feet to be comfortable. It is also important that a transitional shoe is a light. Many shoe producers use EVA in the outer sole to reduce its weight. On children’s shoes, this is not a good idea because it decreases the durability of the shoe a considerable amount. A rubber outsole, on the other hand, has two benefits that make it very suitable: it provides great grip on all surfaces, including slippery rocks and it is very durable. Viking combines lightweight EVA-midsoles with durable rubber under soles to combine the best of two worlds, great grip and slip resistance and light footwear, perfect for your little explorer.

Hiking boots

Hiking boots have the same basic requirements as sneakers, but they require more stability around the ankle area as well as a more stable sole and a different grip pattern designed for rocks, logs and potentially lose ground surfaces.

Rubber boots

The rubber is waterproof but not breathable. In practice, this means that humidity does not escape from the boot. Therefore, lined rubber boots are preferred, as the lining contributes to transport the humidity away from the foot. Linings can vary from thin moisture-wicking synthetics to wool blends, suitable for different weather conditions. All Viking models have a removable insole, which can be removed to dry, an essential feature to keeping your child’s feet dry.

Summer shoes for kids

It is the summer shoe job to keep the climate comfortable and cool. Shoes worn during the summer are exposed to rougher usage. Durability is therefore important.

Sneakers

Mid-high or low, waterproof or not. These are the most important dividers for what we call a sneaker, meaning a shoe that is soft and light, but durable in the right places and inspired by shoes made for athletes.

Without GORE-TEX these shoes are light and airy with reinforcements where it wears the most. The GORE-TEX models are waterproof because of the membrane that is located underneath the outer part of the shoe and is welded together with the lining (this is a light and airy lining intended for warmer days and has nothing in common with fur lining or similar lining that is used in the winter). The membrane lets the humidity from the foot out of the shoe, so the shoe is breathable even though it is waterproof.

A shoe that protects gives good support and is flexible is important for the feet to be comfortable. It is also important that a transitional shoe is a light. Many shoe producers use EVA in the outer sole to reduce its weight. On children’s shoes, this is not a good idea because it decreases the durability of the shoe a considerable amount. A rubber outsole, on the other hand, has two benefits that make it very suitable: it provides great grip on all surfaces, including slippery rocks and it is very durable. Viking combines lightweight EVA-midsoles with durable rubber under soles to combine the best of two worlds, great grip and slip resistance and light footwear, perfect for your little explorer.

Sandals for kids

The light solution for warm days and alternating surfaces. Look for these things when you chose sandals for your kids.

  • Buy a pair with a toecap if the sandals are going to be worn in different play settings such as bicycling. The toecap will protect the toes; an open front is suitable for the beach and such.
  • Choose a synthetic fabric for the inner sole if the sandal is going to be used in water.
  • A leather footbed creates a dry surface, making the sandals comfortable to wear and reduces slip.
  • A rubber under-sole gives a good grip both on dry and wet surfaces.
  • Straps with velcro make the kids able to take the sandals on and off themselves and it also makes it easy to adjust to the foot, creating a perfect fit.
  • Sneaker sandals are combinations of sneakers and sandals, footwear of this kind provide great protection as well as ventilation.

Shopping kids shoes online?

Size and shape are inevitably a challenge when shopping for kid’s shoes online. The most efficient way to avoid buying the wrong shoes for your kids is to have as much knowledge about your children’s feet as possible.

Otherwise, we recommend that you read our tips about different types of shoes and usage, this way you can have an opinion regarding what shoes your children need. When you have done so, you can bring the kids to choose the colour.