Tips on Buying Shoes for Kids

DON’T TREAD ON ME! Getting a grip on buying your kids new shoes. Here are some tips on purchasing footwear for your kids: When taking the kids out to buy new shoes that they seem to outgrow in a week or less, the last thing on your mind when faced with all of the colors, lights, and characters is the style of the tread. However, this is something that you SHOULD consider, especially if you live in a variable climate or if you have a sandbox in your backyard. You may ask, “What in the world does that have to do with anything?” And the answer is EVERYTHING! Footwear is a must-have, and the right shoes can make a huge difference.

The reason is that just like tires, shoes have different treads—a quick lesson in case you aren’t a car person. There are tires with minimal rubber impressions called slicks, which are great for racetracks but not suitable for street use. There are tires, especially for sand with large grooves to gain traction, and snow tires with blocky openings. You might think I’m a little extreme comparing the two, but I’m not, and this is why:

My kids are lucky enough to have a sandbox, and soon after, I realized that there are shoes with treads that I will no longer allow them to use in the sandbox. Two of my daughters had the usual chunky open tread, and they were no problem, but one of my daughters opted for the evenly closely spaced zigzag designs. Those things were sand magnets! The sand quickly built up between the tread. As soon as she stepped foot in the door, she covered my floor with piles of sand. She then proceeded to track it all over my house. I found myself stopping her at the door, and I spent forever banging her shoes outside so that my house didn’t become the next dust bowl.

After hearing this, you may think, ok, that’s no problem, I’ll choose treads that are open and chunky, but there is one more thing to consider, I also found that the wider, more chunky designs gathered more stickers from weeds and it was much easier to remove stickers from the tighter tread. Wipe the shoes off on concrete or mats, and the stickers and the stickers fall off. The thorns would embed themselves higher up in the chunky treads and had to be removed by hand or tweezers. Huge time waster!

Before you go to the shoe store and hyperventilate, now what? I recommend using the chunky treads for sandboxes and smaller treads for areas full of stickers. It’s just my opinion, but it may save you time cleaning floors and save your feet from stepping on stickers or thorns. Even though our kids may seem like they are outgrowing shoes every day sometimes, it takes a bit longer as they grow older, so remember to check the bottom of their shoes and make sure they still have some traction, because whatever tread you choose, it will wear out over time. If they can’t get a grip on your floor, then it’s an accident waiting to happen. Use slicks on the race track only and keep your kids safe while they play! I hope this helps.


  1. Make sure your children’s shoes have enough grip on the bottom to help prevent slips.
  2. You may want to spend more time looking at the bottom of the shoe than at the trendy characters on the top of the shoe.
  3. Getting sand out of a thinner tread can be a huge pain. Use a wider tread to keep your home tidier.
  4. It is easier to remove stickers and weeds from a narrow design than a wider one.