When you think about a hiking boot, you imagine a sturdy, protective boot. The boot with cushioned midsole which provides comfort and stability on rocky, uneven terrain. But, as a parent of a young child, you are not going on multiday trips deep into the bush. Your typical family hike will be a day hike, right? The hike where you wear low-cut shoes with flexible midsoles or even trail-running shoes.
Now, look at your child's feet. How often she flexes her foot, how she walks. Your feet have muscles to support themselves, says Katy Bowman, the expert in biomechanics. Parents should buy shoes which are strengthening the feet. Look for a soft, flexible shoe that is fully attached to the foot, doesn't pass up over the ankle, and doesn't elevate the heel over the toe. Think 'minimal interference with natural gait' while providing protection, adds Mrs Bowman.
The rigid boots are not for toddlers even on challenging hikes. When it is safe to do so, your child can even walk barefoot. The shoe should mimic that, just protect from hot (summer) surface and sharp edges.
The shoes must fit well. Small is as bad as too big. If the shoes don't fit, your toddler will be vulnerable to trips and falls. You might be tempted to buy a half size bigger, but don't.
Lastly, there are slip-on shoes, shoes with laces or velcro closures. Slip-on shoes are often not fully attached to the foot. There is nothing wrong with laces, just parents might overtight them. So, if possible, look for shoes with velcro (hook-and-loop fasteners). The velcro closure ensures that the shoes snuggle around the feet and support them.
Choose the shoes:
Re-check your child's feet size at least every two months to ensure the shoes still fit.
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