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First shoes


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First shoe experience

We take a Polaroid photograph of your child for you to keep, when they are fitted for their first shoes to mark their important milestone.


First shoes experience


Does my child need shoes when he is crawling?

Barefoot is best for babies who are crawling and in the early stages of learning to walk, so don’t be tempted to get shoes too early. Little feet are very delicate and toes need room to wiggle to allow them to develop naturally. However, to keep feet warm out-of-doors and to protect little toes against bumps and scrapes from hard floors, fitted pre-walkers are a good option. They allow plenty of room for feet to grow, but offer warmth and protection if needed.


When does a child need their first pair of shoes?

Harder soled walking shoes should be considered once the child has been walking unaided for about 4 to 6 weeks or when they are walking more than crawling.   This can be any time between 9 and 18 months.  Never push your child to walk if they are not ready. 


Why are properly fitted shoes so important?

Children’s feet tend to grow rapidly in the first 4 years of life, but can take up to 18 years for the foot’s bones muscles and ligaments to harden into adult form.  Properly fitted shoes play a vital role in helping to safeguard the healthy development of your child’s feet. 


When your child is very young the bones in his feet are made of soft spongy cartilage which can easily be pushed out of alignment by shoes (and even sleep-suits and socks) which don’t fit properly. 

The nerve endings in babies’ feet also take time to develop, so your child may not be able to let you know if his feet are sore or squashed by his shoes.  At best, poorly fitted shoes won’t wear as well, so never settle for anything less than the perfect fit.  It is essential that children’s shoes are always fitted by an experienced shoe fitter. 


How quickly will my child grow out of his shoes?

Children’s shoes should be professionally checked for correct fit:-

·         Every 4-6 weeks for infants 0-3 years in age- Feet grow about 3 English shoe sizes in the first year.  

·         6-8 weeks for children aged 3-4 years Feet grow on average 2 whole sizes a year, until 5 years old.

·         Every 10-12 weeks thereafter – a visit at the end of every whole school term should do the job. On average school aged children grow a size a year but watch out for growth spurts, girls 7-12 years and boys 10-14 years.

This is not to say your child will need new shoes each time their feet are measured, you will not be sold a pair a shoes unless needed.


W J French & Son is the oldest and largest independent footwear retailer in Hampshire, which has been run by the same family for 213 years. We are founding members of the Society of Shoe Fitters  and the Children’s Foothealth Register

·         Every member of our team are trained shoe fitters with many years’ experience and are passionate about getting the correct fit and style of shoe for your child.

·         We offer a large selection of brands in various sizes and fittings

·         We can fit and give advice on orthotics and make reasonable adjustments to shoe in our workshop.

·         We aim to provide excellent customer service, choice and standard of fitting.


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