You want to buy the practical ones that fit, and look like they’ll last. Your daughter wants the purple ones with glitter on the toes that look like they’ll fall apart in a puddle.
Beyond the obvious practical concerns, there’s a health issue here. And, parents, podiatrists will back you up.
Dr. Kimberly Eickmeier, a podiatrist at Christie Clinic, says shoes that don’t fit and support properly can aggravate your child’s feet and lead to a host of problems: heel pain that might make PE and sports too painful, ingrown toenails and shin splints.
She and fellow podiatrists advise the following as you do your back-to-school shoe-shopping:
Look for shoes with stiff heels, toe flexibility (meaning the shoes bend with your child’s toes) and with a rigid middle. A shoe with a rigid middle means you can’t twist it in the middle.
Podiatrists further advise no hand-me-downs when it comes to shoes. Not only can you spread foot fungus from one child to the next that way, Eickmeier says, you can actually pass along foot problems from one child to the next.
For example, a flat foot deformity of the first child means that child will wear down the shoe unevenly, so the next child won’t have the correct support and can wind up with arch pain or tendonitis, she said.
More advice: Never expect your kids to “break in” their shoes. Shoes should fit comfortably right from the start these days
Eickmeier says she advises parents to have kids wear their new shoes at home for an hour and then take them off and look at their feet. If there are signs the shoes aren't fitting right, take them back.