Start-Rite: perfect for little feet

Little feet need lots of love. Once children start walking there’s no stopping them, so it’s important to give them the best start.

Whether tearing around the house, playing in the garden or dashing off to school and friends’ houses, the chances are they’re up on their feet most of the day.

Soft little feet

Bones in children’s feet don’t fully form until around 10 years of age

It’s a little-known fact that babies’ feet don’t have fully-formed bones‚ just soft cartilage. This cartilage can easily be pushed out of shape by badly fitting shoes.

Did you know that even socks or sleepsuits that are too tight can damage their feet at this delicate stage?

Plus, the nerve endings in babies’ feet also take time to develop, so your child may not be able to let you know if their feet are sore or squashed by shoes.

Properly fitted shoes play a vital role in helping to safeguard the healthy development of your child’s feet.


Shoes that don’t fit properly can cause sores or blisters and at worst may even lead to long-term foot problems.

The bones in children’s feet don’t fully form until around 10 years of age, and a child doesn’t stop growing until between 16 and 21 years of age, which means that throughout their childhood, their feet are susceptible to being mis-shaped by ill-fitting footwear.

No two children are ever the same and no two children’s feet are the same either.  That’s why when it comes to fitting footwear, it’s important to look at the all-round shape of a child’s foot.

At Start-Rite Shoes, we develop shoes in whole and half sizes and in a variety of width fittings, to ensure the best possible fit for each child.

But when should you take the plunge and buy that first pair?

Cute baby shoes are so appealing but don’t be tempted yet – barefoot is best at this stage.  When babies start to crawl and shuffle, and pull themselves up to standing, you’re in a new phase of development.

Their feet are still extremely delicate, so it pays to protect them against cuts and scrapes, or even bruises from hard floors, although barefoot is still best where possible.

Start-Rite has a special range of pre-walkers designed just for this in-between stage, allowing free movement with gentle support and protection to their toes and heels.

First walking shoes

Then, when your baby is walking indoors and outdoors unaided for much of the day, their feet need more support and protection and they are now ready for their first walking shoes.  At this age, children’s feet can grow really quickly so you should plan to check the fit of the shoes every six to eight weeks.

You should plan to check the fit of the shoes every 6-8 weeks

We recently undertook research with 500 parents across the UK* to understand misperceptions and lack of knowledge around the importance of fitted footwear for children as they start to walk.

The research revealed just over half (57%) of parents with toddlers are confident they know the size of their children’s feet and only a third (34%) know a toddler’s feet are growing at a rate of knots and should be measured every six weeks.

*Research conducted by Onepoll from 30.06.21 – 07.07.21

At Start-Rite, we offer a handy measuring gauge so you can measure their feet from the comfort of your own home.  Just like the ones in the shop, the gauge measures the length and width of your child’s feet find to their Start-Rite shoe size. You can find out more about the measuring gauge here.

Now you know when to buy, need some inspiration on styles?

Check out our new exclusive range with JoJo Maman Bébé.  You’ll find us on online or on the high street at any of the 40 JoJo Maman Bébé stores, where staff have been expertly trained in fitting shoes by our Start-Rite specialists.

The range has a friendship theme running through it, with classic Start-Rite styling and much-loved JoJo characters.  With styles called Friend, Buddy, Sidekick and Little Pal, you’ll find them hard to resist. Embroidered tractor, mouse, fox, hedgehog and penguin motifs complete the look.

And, once they’re up and off, here’s some tips on how to keep little feet healthy:

  • Never put your child in shoes that are too big or too small, and make sure that all footwear, including trainers are properly fitted.
  • Don’t hand shoes down from one child to another – feet adapt to the child that wears them.
  • Cut toenails straight across (to avoid in-growing toenails) and not too short.
  • Get socks that fit – if they’re too tight they will cramp the foot, if they’re too big they can bunch up and cause blisters.
  • Choose shoes with natural linings such as leather and socks with a high natural fibre content to allow feet to breathe.
  • Try to get shoes that are designed for the purpose your child will use them for, otherwise they may not offer the support or wear you’re expecting.

Member offer

Start-Rite is offering 30% off the small measuring gauge until the end of January 2021. Now £7 instead of £10. Click to buy a measuring gauge and use NCT30 at checkout.

To read more about your child’s fantastic feet, Start-Rite has a dedicated advice hub.