In the market for a new pair of kicks for your kiddo? Don’t even think of walking into another shoe store before checking out Jennifer May’s, Montclair’s very own children’s shoe expert, new site Kidshoeology.com.
According to May, who started in the shoe industry at Stride Rite about thirty years ago and has worked on distinguished brands like Keds and OshKosh B’gosh, the marketplace for kids’ shoes has changed dramatically in the last twenty years. “So much is self-serve now.” She adds, “Remember when parents would save up for a pair of good shoes for their kids? I’m trying to nudge parents back to understanding that quality shoes and correct measurement are important.”
According to the site, Kidshoeology tackles the topics of “when to spend, how to save and ways to get the size right the very first time” with tons of easy-to-digest and practical tips. The site is brimming with helpful evergreen information like how to measure your child’s feet (hint: use a Brannock DeviceTM, that black and silver contraption they use at shoe stores), how to properly fit your child’s shoes and features to look for in your baby’s first shoes.
The site also does a great job of explaining why proper-fitting shoes are so important. In May’s experience, the biggest mistake parents make when it comes to shoes is sizing. Too snug shoes can cause irritation, blisters and discomfort. And according to The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, shoes that are too small can also lead to foot deformities. Additionally, persistent ill-fitting shoes can create postural and walking issues. Shoes that are too big, on the other hand, can lead to tripping and other injuries. May is clear that she’s not a doctor and she’s certainly not trying to give parents something else to obsess over. “I just want to make them aware that shoes aren’t just fashion; there’s a significant health aspect, too.”
As far as where to spend and where to save, May points out that many cheaper shoes are made of a plastic material that isn’t very breathable. It’s best to spend money on higher-quality leather shoes if your child will be wearing them daily. Those cheaper shoes aren’t all bad, though. You can save money on shoes that your child won’t be wearing often or for long periods of time, like dress shoes. Sandals, because they have a more open construction, are also okay.
In addition to practical tips, May also includes plenty of fashion and trend updates on the site. Peruse the site now and you’ll find fun seasonal highlights, like ‘snow boot week’ and trend-right looks for the holidays. May also gave Barista Family a sneak peak at fashion trends for the spring, including shoes with color blocking and girls’ shoes that go beyond typical pink. Purple, in all different shades, will be the new hot color.
If you have a question that she hasn’t covered on the site, May welcomes readers to send them in. You’ll also soon have the opportunity to ask her in person at upcoming events she’ll be offering at local stores. She’s slated to be at Hudson Street Organic Baby Boutique in January or February with other events to follow.