We all know how important it is for children’s shoes to fit properly. Children’s tootsies grow very quickly, and ill-fitting shoes can do lasting damage to delicate feet and bones.

To ensure the perfect fit, always have your child’s feet professionally measured before you buy new shoes.

Many children’s feet don’t fall into standard fitting when it comes to shoe size, so shop around for a brand that offers half sizes and different width measurements if necessary – not all children’s shoe brands do this.

Resist the temptation to buy your child’s shoes in the next size up – it’s a false economy and your little one’s feet won’t thank you.

Always buy shoes to suit your child’s stage of development. Crawling and cruising shoes offer a different level of support than first walking shoes, for example, and the right type of shoe can make a big difference to how confidently your toddler strides out.

With other children, factor in that kids tend to be harder on their shoes than adults are, so go for durability as well as comfort. We’ve all bought school shoes that barely lasted a term, and with children’s shoes often costing as much as a pair of adult’s shoes, that’s not a price you want to pay more than you absolutely have to.

Finally, keep in mind that children’s shoes play an important part in supporting their physical development. They are often expensive but no other item of clothing has the same impact on a child’s growth or comfort. It’s well worth investing in the most reliable brand you can afford.

With all that said, here are our favourite brands for children’s shoes that deliver on style, practicality and durability.

Bobux

Bobux footwear is endorsed by podiatrists and no wonder – this New Zealand based brand is passionate about healthy foot development. But it doesn’t sacrafice style for practicality. Quite the opposite, in fact. These are, hands down, some of the most stylish children’s shoes we’ve clapped eyes on, and we’re a bit jealous that they don’t do a range for adults. The brand has been around since 1991 and – claim to fame – the founders designed the world’s first all-leather soft sole shoe for their daughter.

These futuristic-looking shoes are absolutely stunning and lined with fine merino wool, which helps regulate temperature, draw out moisture and prevent nasty niffs. The high-performance sole is super flexible and our five-year-old tester particularly liked that she can get these on and off without supervision. This is the only shoe we tested which she begged to take to bed with her; that’s how much she loves them.

Geox

A pioneering brand, Geox is all about combining innovative solutions and clever tech to create breathable, waterproof footwear for babies, kids and adults. Think contemporary designs that kids love, along with a patented, perforated sole which provides utter breathability plus an excellent grip. The brand reckons its sussed creating the perfect microclimate inside their shoes so that little feet stay dry and comfortable whatever the weather.

Talk about shoes for 21st century kids. This breathable trainer is embedded with LED lights in the back of the sole that spell out customisable words. The lights on one shoe blink in sequence or glow steadily, while those on the other shoe spell out a message that you can customise via an app on your smartphone. Get this – you can even recharge the lights with the micro USB cable supplied. Our five-year-old tester thinks shoes don’t come much cooler than this, and her teenage brothers are quietly envious. But the good news is that they go up to a size 41.

Clarks

Arguably the most famous children’s shoe brand in the UK, Clarks has been cladding little feet for almost 200 years. Their shoes comes in half sizes and various widths, and their in-store fitting service is second-to-none. From crawling and cruising shoes to classy boots for style-conscious youngsters, this classic brand is the last word in sensible yet stylish footwear for kids.

These sporty ankle boots are available in a range of colours, and come in both whole and half sizes and different widths. The leather upper and grippy sole make them smart yet functional, and the inside zip makes them easy for kids to take on and off with minimal supervision.

Lelli Kelly

Billed as the shoes that every little girl wants, Lelli Kelly is a brand that typifies fun. Launched in 1992 in Italy, they do everything from baseball boots and school shoes to summer sandals and even wellies. They’re arguably best known for their party shoes, though. Think sparkles and embellishments galore, including hand-sewn beads and sequinned flowers.

The new Lelli Kelly princess-themed range are embellished with embroidered butterflies, and come in a host of shimmering pearlescent pastel shades. We like the pumps because they’re just the right mix of style and practicality, with a Mary Jane strap and a grip sole. Oh, and they come with a magic wand and lip gloss included.

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