How not to buy your child’s first pair of shoes

March 10, 2013

Buying baby shoes
Photos: shoe buying attempt one, shoe buying attempt two, and shoe buying attempt three (success!)

Buying your child’s first pair of shoes can’t be that difficult…can it? Well you’d think so, but we’ve just bought ours; on the third attempt.

So to avoid making the mistakes that we did, here’s a guide of things to avoid on the quest towards buying baby shoes.

First tips, from our first trip (shoe shop #1 in Crystal Palace):

  • Don’t take her to buy shoes when she’s getting sleepy
  • Definitely don’t take her to buy shoes when it’s nearly lunchtime

This resulted in a bit of a tired and hungry meltdown, so we made a hasty retreat and resolved to try again this weekend.

And so, on to tips from our second trip (shoe shop #2 in East Dulwich):

  • Don’t tempt fate by cheerfully saying to the assistant ‘she burst into tears last time she had her feet measured!’ It’ll only end in one way. Yes, you’ve guessed it
  • Don’t have your heart set on the pair of shoes featured in a certain well known shoe brand’s ‘first shoe’ print ad (the one that actually made you cry – it had been a long day!) Especially as it turns out they don’t actually make that style in the ‘first shoe’ sizes
  • Don’t get too set on actually buying shoes, as it turns out some shops don’t stock much choice in the small sizes…
  • And it’s probably not a good idea to buy the only pair of shoes in the shop in her size if they are white. A recipe for disaster if ever I’ve seen one

It came to pass that we had shoe success on our third try (shoe shop #3 in Dulwich Village). So our final tips are these:

  • Don’t think all shoes have to be the usual pink for girls…you can find different styles if you look / go far enough
  • And don’t expect babies to like having their feet measured. They will cry. Take snacks and have distractionary tactics up your sleeves!

And here ends our tale, an epic trek that seemed to cover most of south-east London.

After all that, our heroine was distinctly unimpressed with her new purchase. It looked like we would have a less than fairytale ending – at first she remained rooted to the spot and cast us a look to say ‘Why have you put concrete on the end of my lovely legs?’ She seems slightly more keen on them today though, and has been carrying them round the house. I’m sure she’ll soon learn from her mum, whose wedding shoes actually cost more than her dress.

We were able to have fun fantasy house shopping on our journey though. We’re still no clearer to making a decision on moving, but as we’re also no clearer to winning the lottery, it still looks like a pair of shoes is the only thing we’ll be buying in Dulwich Village for the foreseeable future.

How were everyone else’s first footwear experiences? Good luck if you’re buying shoes soon, you might need it.


  • Jenny @ The Brick Castle

    March 11, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Even with a house full of children and what must be hundreds of trips and a bazillion pounds worth of shoes under our belts, we made the same error with our youngest last month and had to go back the next week – and it was his 4th pair! He had a lollipop clutched in his paw the second time and the only thing he said was “want this one shoe”… 🙂

  • ghostwritermummy

    March 12, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Ugh. I still hate buying shoes, even now! The traumas of school shoe shopping…!
    My youngest was actually easy to buy for this time as there was only one pair that fit her tiny feet! xx

  • Myra M. Turner

    March 15, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Buying shoes for the little ones are never really easy. It’s just hard to find something nice with the perfect fit. The tips you shared are useful. I’ll keep them all in mind the next time we will shop for her shoes. Thanks!

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