Buying footwear for kids can be a challenge – you have to tick the comfort box, of course, but the shoes also need to offer sufficient support, ideally while still looking stylish. If you’ve been searching high and low for this perfect combo, you’re not alone. Happy Step Store was set up by mum Irina who found herself in the same position. She tells us how she started her brand – and dishes out some tips for buying the best shoes.
Why did you open the store?
From a young age, my little girl was choosing her shoes and clothes by herself, only agreeing to wear things that were pretty and comfortable. But the selection in Singapore didn’t match my own criteria. I prefer to buy shoes that are not only comfortable, but also orthopedic-friendly, to avoid any problems with the development of the feet. So, I would shop for shoes overseas, filling half of my luggage with multiple sizes and styles. It was pricey and quite a hassle!
I decided to open Happy Step Store to fill in this gap in kids’ shoes in Singapore. I picked reputable Italian brands Falcotto and Naturino to start my shop with – the best match for a health-concerned mother and beauty-obsessed daughter. I love that they are fun and fashionable too!
What are your best sellers?
Our sandals are very popular; they’re perfect for the hot weather in Singapore! Most of the parents buy open-toed sandals but some prefer closed-toed ones for extra protection. Many sandals come with Velcro closure so toddlers can easily wear them on their own. We also offer stylish sneakers, they’re very popular during school holiday seasons when parents buy them for overseas trips.
What should we look out for in a good pair of kids’ shoes?
Firstly, baby shoes should not be too soft, contrary to common belief. Your little explorer is taking their first steps, so they need steady ground and good support. Orthopedists recommend a semi-hard cushioned heel for safety and comfort for young children. It’s important to keep your toddler’s heel sturdy. A semi-hard heel will help to keep the foot in the right position, providing necessary support for early walkers. Avoid shoes with soft soles like flip-flops – think about proper arch support and stability. (Plus flip-flops can be a real hazard on escalators and public transport!)
Finally, choose shoes made of natural materials like leather or suede. Rubber, silicon, leatherette and other artificial materials don’t let the feet breathe; they trap moisture, especially in humid climates, and can cause bacteria growth, leading to skin and toe fungus.
At what age should children start wearing shoes?
Orthopedists recommend buying a child’s first shoes not when they’ve taken their first steps but before that. It should be when your child learns to stand with support on their own, for example, being able to pull themselves up and stand in a crib. At this stage, you should let your child wear proper shoes for a short while every day. This will help them to get used to shoes later on when they start walking.
3 tips for shopping for kids’ shoes
#1 Pick a reputable brand – this is your kids’ health we’re talking about!
#2 Buy shoes recommended by orthopedists, especially when shopping for a toddler.
#3 Be sure to choose the right size. You can save by buying larger clothes to grow into, but you’re risking injuring little joints if shoes are too big or small. Shoes should grow together with your child.
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