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Summer shoe shopping at Stride Rite (and $50 giftcard giveaway)

Stride Rite Propel A/C style
Stride Rite Propel A/C style
Courtesy of Stride Rite

If you haven’t gone summer shoe shopping for the kids yet head to Stride Rite where they have some of the hottest styles for baby and kids. My daughter was in desperate need of a new pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals. We found two hot summer styles, the Propel A/C sneaker and the Colette sandal. The Propel A/C sneaker is so cool! I love the colors-a mix of hot pink, purple, orange and neon yellow. I wish they had sneakers like this in my size. They’re stylish, athletic and bold. Also, I really like how lightweight the outsole is, which is great for flexibility and the mesh linings help keep little feet cool and comfortable. The Colette sandal is a feminine style that features a pretty braided front in refreshing summer colors including pink, yellow, turquoise and orange. It’s the perfect sandal that goes with everything in my daughter’s summer wardrobe.

I know shoes and girls go together but that doesn’t mean we forget about the boys! They need cool shoes (and good shoes) too. My little guy just turned one and he’s practically running now. It’s important for babies to have good shoes when they start learning to walk and I always turn to Stride Rite for great walking shoes. I especially love the Mitchell style. This stylish sneaker comes in dark and light blue with orange mesh lining and it gives the support a baby needs when learning to walk. The shoe features rounded edges for fewer stumbles, a hook-and-loop closure for adjustability and deep flex grooves that work with baby’s natural movement.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Marc Loverin, Creative Director, SRCG Product and dad of 3 for the below Q&A. Marc offers some wonderful information about shoe shopping for kids including: hot styles for spring/summer, most important features to look for when shoe shopping for kids, how to know if the shoe fits, is it good to buy kids shoes a bigger size so they last longer, and what's going to be hot for fall/winter.

Also, Stride Rite has been kind enough to offer a $50 gift card to one lucky winner (can only be used at www.striderite.com not in-stores). Please click this link to enter contest.

Which Stride Rite styles are hot for Spring/Summer?
We always put foot health first but as the leader in premium children’s footwear, style matters and we make sure to follow the key seasonal trends right from the runway. Take a look at how your child can look great and feel good this summer in the coolest shoes.

When it comes to shoe shopping for babies and kids what's the most important feature (s) to look for (i.e. flexibility, support, etc)?
Proper fit is critical to maintain healthy foot development as a child grows. In addition, flexibility is extremely important. The outsole, upper design, and materials all work together to either allow or restrict flexibility. Look for shoes that don’t feel heavy with an outsole that flexes at the ball of the foot and that are made of breathable materials like mesh or leather for comfort. Another tip is, switch up shoes. Don’t wear the same pair every day.

How do you know if the shoe fits?
To help parents find shoes that fit properly, here are some helpful shoe buying tips:

• Make sure to see a professional trained in fitting shoes for infants, toddlers and young children. For example, Stride Rite’s Fit Training Program received the APMA Seal of Acceptance. The seal recognizes products evaluated by a committee of podiatrists that contribute to better foot health.
• Have your child’s feet measured every 2 to 3 months until toddler years, then every 3 to 4 months after that.
• Feet are seldom precisely the same size. Always buy for the larger foot.
• Do not buy shoes that need “breaking in.” Shoes should be comfortable from the beginning. Observe your child walking around in both shoes for longer than a few minutes. Then, check each foot to make certain there are no irritation marks.
• Make sure the shoe is not too heavy. A heavy shoe can make your child walk irregularly, preventing the development of a normal walking pattern.
• If a child complains of foot pain or discomfort, schedule a check-up with your local podiatrist who specializes in children’s foot care.

Some parents buy their children's footwear a 1/2 size to a whole size bigger so they last longer. Is this good for a child's foot? If not, why?
Kid's feet can grow up to half a shoe size every 3-4 months. As hard as that can be, the upside is that it's a great opportunity freshen up your little one's style for the season. But shoes that do not fit properly can be uncomfortable and unhealthy. The best step parents can take to is getting their child’s foot measured and the shoe fitted by seeing a fit specialist who knows how to fit children. But if getting the store isn’t possible, and then try our Simple Online Size Guide.

Another tip is when shopping for shoes; parents think that once they have their child’s foot measured, they can just up the size once those shoes don’t fit anymore. The first shoe fitting is just as important as the 10th or 20th as their feet don’t begin to form critical bones until age 5 and continue growing through their teen years. This is why it is important to always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes.

Also, trust that if you got your child’s foot measured and fitted to go with that size. Don’t buy a size or half size bigger for them to grow into or to last longer. Wearing a bigger shoe could cause their feet to over exert themselves and can cause blisters and discomfort. Every shoe fits differently, so do not buy shoes based solely on the size printed on the shoebox. Make sure your child tries on every shoe and watch them as they walk to make sure they seem comfortable and fit properly.

Any hot trends to look forward to for Fall/Winter footwear?
Sometimes trends come along that, though originating in adults, really resonate with kids and take on a life of their own. The explosion of color, particularly in athletics, is a prime example of this. Kids love the opportunity to express themselves with color from shoes, to socks, to apparel. Look out for bright citron mixed with core dark colors, fun color combos like teal and pink and bold all over colors like deep purple or berry.