Kids' slippers keep feet warm, protect them from getting dirty and give more stability during playtime. Despite all of this, many are not sure if slippers are necessary or recommended for small children. The reason for this uncertainty is because the development of a child’s foot muscles and joints which, according to some doctors, is best promoted when the child goes barefoot. However, if you choose the right size (and choose a high-quality pair) of slippers, they can also provide great support for your little one’s feet.
A baby’s small, cute feet are very soft right from the beginning; that’s because they’re made up of cartilaginous tissue. On a baby’s foot, the arch is not yet pronounced—instead, it’s flat. The arch first begins to form when a baby slowly begins to learn to walk. When a baby starts to move or walk on varied types of surfaces and try out different movements, the development of foot muscles and balance begins. When they’re very young, babies should ideally go barefoot; or, if it’s very cold, they should wear a slipper with a thin, flexible sole. The length of a baby’s foot also changes significantly throughout the years:
A child first reaches their “permanent” or adult shoe size in their pre-teen years: for girls, it’s around 12 years of age and for boys, around 14 years of age.
When it comes to choosing between going barefoot, just with socks, or with slippers, it really depends on what type of surface your child is spending time on and how active they are. For example, if your home consists of mainly cold, tile floors, your little one’s feet will stay most comfortable and clean in a pair of good slippers. Choosing slippers with a slip-free sole can help prevent slips and tumbles. Ideally, the sole should be soft and flexible; this allows it to fit your child’s foot correctly, and helps support its development. When kids are playing, their feet often start to sweat—so, you’ll want to choose slippers that are made of breathable materials, like cotton or wool. Slippers with a velcro closure are also a great choice, as you can then adjust the slipper to fit your child’s foot perfectly. Finally, the most important part of choosing a pair of slippers is picking the right size. The toes should never be squished together, and the heel area must offer good support.
Did you know that 9 out of 10 children wear slippers that are too small for them? This was the result of a study undertaken at the Medical University of Vienna, during which the fit of street shoes and slippers of 858 children were studied. When a child wears shoes that are either too small or too big, it can cause eventual foot misalignments or postural damage. So when buying a pair of children’s shoes or slippers, make sure that the shoe is around 10 to 15 millimeters longer than the foot itself—this way, you’ll be sure that the toes will have enough space to move around. When choosing the correct size for adult shoes, the “thumb test” is usually a safe method to determine whether or not there’s enough space in the shoe. However, children reflexively pull back their toes when pressure is placed on the front of the shoe; so there are other, better ways to determine if a pair of children's shoes or slippers fits correctly:
Make a template
For this method, all you need is a piece of cardboard or paper, a pencil and a pair of scissors. Your child should stand on the piece of paper with both feet. Then, trace each foot with the pencil. Find the “longest” point of the foot—usually the big toe—and add 15 millimeters. Then, cut out the outline of the shoe. Place this template into the pair of shoes you’re considering buying; if the paper fits without crinkling, you’ve found the right size. If the paper moves around or has to bend to fit, though, that means the shoe is too big or too small.
Does the pair of children’s shoes or slippers that you’re thinking about buying have removable insoles? Perfect. Just take out the insole, and have your child stand on top of it. Then, look at the toes to see if they have around 15 millimeters of space around the toes—this is a quick and easy way to determine if the shoe is too big or too small.
Measuring devices in specialist shops
If you’re not buying your child’s slippers online, the best option is to go to a specialty shop. There, they’ll have special devices for measuring your child’s feet and will give you the sound advice you need.
To give you a nice overview, we’ve pulled together all the most important points about choosing a pair of children’s shoes or slippers:
Even on hot days, you don’t want your child’s feet to be sweaty. That’s why we recommend high-quality, natural cotton as the best material for children’s slippers. Cotton is light, breathable and absorbs excess moisture—which means that sweat and odors don’t stand a chance. Plus, this natural fiber is especially comfortable for the skin, and offers exceptional comfort.
When it’s snowy and blowy outside, your child’s feet deserve some cozy slippers. Our children’s slippers—which are made of fine, 100% virgin wool—are soft, wooly and warm. This unique boiled wool material is produced in the heart of Austrian Tyrol—in a village called Brixlegg—and then crafted into high-quality slippers. The final touch on these fine slippers is our patented natural rubber sole, which is especially flexible and slip-free.
For daycare or kindergarten, parents often choose slippers that have a form sole so that their little one doesn’t slip and slide during playtime. If your child has a high instep, though, this can be difficult to find—but we’ve got you covered. Our traditional slipper socks have a knitted elastic band which offers plenty of space for those with a high instep. Learn more in our blog about the history of Giesswein slippers and how our characteristic knitted cuff was created.
When slippers are made of synthetic materials, your child’s feet will be especially prone to sweating. That’s why it’s best to choose a pair of children’s slippers that are made of high-quality, breathable materials like cotton or wool. Wool naturally regulates foot temperature, traps moisture and wicks it away from the foot. This means that your child’s feet will stay comfortably dry, and free from unpleasant odors.