When we thought about Little E’s first shoes and where to get them from we immediately thought of Clarks. Why was this? It’s because we know they offer a good shoe fitting service. Your feet are important so getting the right shoe size is important and I think Clarks is the choice passed down the generations.
BRANTANO asked us to try their children’s shoe fitting service, I thought nothing would put them to the test like a very active toddler.
What I didn’t know is that BRANTANO works with Clarks. Their staff are trained how to measure children’s feet and they even stock Clarks shoes.
Below is the video I took of our sales assistant measuring Little E’s feet
When Little E had had her feet measured it was easy to select her some Clarks first shoes from the range BRANTANO had in stock. Everything is clearly placed in order of size and our sales assistant made sure the chosen shoes were the perfect fit.
Little E even got the chance to run around the store to make sure her new shoes stayed in place.
We loved our shoe fitting experience with BRANTANO its service and our experience there was the same as we have received at any Clarks we have visited. It will easily become our go to place for our children’s shoes.
Louise Williams from Brantano, who is an expert shoe fitter, has provided answers to some of the most common questions they are asked:
1. How often should you get measured and from what age?
Children should be kept out of shoes for as long as possible and you should only consider shoes once they can pull themselves up and start walking. First shoes should always be made from soft, flexible material and not have stiff or hard soles.
As the child’s feet grow, you will notice that styles of shoes and the sole units change in order to provide extra support and protection. Brantano offers many first shoes in its stores, stocking Clarks (such as Little Bunny, Little Ida, Little Ditz) which are all classed as first shoes – so perfect for crawling, cruising and first steps. If you have concerns about when to buy shoes then Brantano’s expert fitters are on hand to measure, fit and offer advice for your child’s first pair.
2. How often should I get my toddlers feet measured? She seems to have been the same size for a while and her shoes don’t feel tight.
Children’s feet tend to grow in spurts, so it’s quite normal for the size to stay the same for a while – typically speaking, children’s feet grow around two sizes each year. As a general rule, we would recommend a measure and fit check every four to six weeks for pre-walkers (under two years) and then approximately every 10-12 weeks from two years. At Brantano, the measuring and fitting service is completely free and you are never obliged to buy – so feel free to pop into your local store as often as you like, have your child’s feet measured and existing shoes checked by one of the expert fitters.
3. Is there a maximum length of time children should wear shoes before taking them off for a bit, or does it not matter if you have breathable shoes?
There is no specific time that is given to wearing shoes; however children’s feet should be given as much freedom as possible in order to help the feet develop naturally – especially in younger children – so taking shoes off, for example on long car journeys, is a good idea.
Shoes made from leather definitely help, as leather is a porous material meaning it naturally allows the feet to breath – this is especially important if a child has sweaty feet. When the feet get hot they also have a tendency to swell and in poorly fitted shoes this can cause more problems the longer they are worn.
4. After measuring foot size with a tool, what do the fitters look for when the customer tries on a shoe?
When children’s feet are measured, the size given is what we refer to as a ‘starting point’ and this is because we take many other things, such as style and brand, into consideration. Shoe fitters will check that there is enough growing room in the length but not too much to cause trips or blisters. They will also check the width (widest part of the foot which is between the toe joints), the instep (or arch), especially where fasteners, such as laces or buckles, are concerned. They’ll also check that the ankle bones are sitting comfortably on the collar and that the shoe grips the heel when walking.
5. How can I tell whether the person fitting my DD’s shoes is doing a good job?
An experienced trained fitter will spend time with you and your child and discuss the best styles for their foot size and shape. They will take time checking the fit in length, width, depth, heel grip and walking ability. They are also more than happy to explain and demonstrate what they are checking for so you can check the fit at home.
6. Why is shoe fitting so random? My DS has very wide, high feet, with very high arches, and it’s a complete lottery as to which shoes might possibly fit him. Some shoe fitters have tried to persuade us that a shoe where the Velcro barely touches is a good fit.
Every single shoe is developed on a ‘last’ (a foot-shaped piece of plastic or wood) so the size will vary between shoes. This is why it is so important to get the shoe on the foot to see how it fits. Unfortunately size and fit does also differ slightly between brands and styles – this is why it’s always recommended to get shoes fitted by a fully trained fitter. Time of day and socks can also result in different measurements, as feet swell slightly as the day goes on. The best time to get feet measured is in the afternoon. If shoes have a Velcro fasten, then the strap should cover approximately 80% of the Velcro for the shoe to have a comfortable fit.
7. Do Brantano do special fitting sessions for children with autism or similar issues?
Brantano appreciates that every child is different and tries to accommodate the needs of both child and parent. This can include making specific appointments (even out of hours), making adjustments in store, such as turning off music or having a designated quiet area. If you have concerns then the best thing to do is to call your local Brantano store who will be happy to discuss your individual needs.
8. Why should we shop with Brantano
Brantano stocks many brands and styles to suit many budgets and our expert fitters are always on hand to offer advice on the best styles for your child’s feet. Our fitting service is free and you can pop in as many times as you like for a free fit check with no obligation to buy. We take pride in our measure and fit service and work closely with all our fitted brands, such as Clarks and Startrite, in order to make sure we offer the best service possible for our customers.
9. We will be walking to nursery throughout the year and I’m looking for a pair of shoes for heavy rain, potential snow and ice. What should I be looking for to know his feet and ankles will be protected as much as possible?
As we approach autumn and winter, Brantano will stock a range of shoes and boots suitable for little feet in the cold and wet weather. As with shoes, our expert fitters will measure and fit boots making sure they are a comfortable fit for your child. For very snowy days, we would recommend a snow boot (for warmth) and for rainy days, we would recommend a leather boot that has been protected (such as Clarks’ Crazy Dig or Diggy Guy, with a padded collar and flexible sole).
10. My mum always goes on about buying school shoes a size bigger so they last the whole school year, what damage could this do to their feet/comfort or is it a good idea?
It’s never a good idea to buy shoes which are too big, as this can cause foot damage or accidents such as trips. Growing room is always built into children’s shoes and Brantano fitters will always recommend the best fit that includes growing room, so there is no need to buy bigger sizes.