Parents are calling on the government to allow for 'essential' children's shoe shops to open
In the past year, my little boy's feet have grown two whole shoe sizes.
Needless to say, trying to keep him in the right sized footwear this past year has been a challenge – with shops closed for most of this time.
And if you tell me to just order shoes online, I am going to assume you have never tried to buy shoes for children before. The thing is, which I have no doubt other parents have found too, often, while he might be one size in one shop, in another one, he can be a full size, or even more, smaller or larger.
Which inevitably means a whole debacle of ordering two or three different sizes of everything, and then having to return what we don't need and what doesn't fit. It is expensive, time-consuming and, in my opinion, utterly ridiculous, as surely buying shoes for a child should qualify as just as 'essential' as being able to pick up a bottle of wine or vodka at the off-license.
And I am not alone in thinking this makes no sense.
According to The Journal, parents are now calling on the government for clarity on buying ‘essential’ children’s shoes in stores – especially in the case of children who require foot splints.
Parents of children who require special orthotics to help their mobility development say they have been forced to buy multiple pairs of shoes online in order to find one that fits. As well as this atrocity, parents whose children do not require orthotics have also said that they are unable to find proper-fitting shoes and need access to measurement services in shoe shops.
The parents who spoke to The Journal said that while they understood shoe shops might not be able to be opened for casual browsing, they are hoping the government could allow shoe shops to open for appointments.
"I believe children’s shoes are essential,” says June Shannon, who explains that she struggles to buy shoes online for her five-year-old, as she doesn't know how to measure her daughter’s feet properly.
“I think there’s no clarity [from government], no joined-up thinking. Some shops have runners on sale, other shops don’t – there’s no consistency across the board."
Shannon also pointed out there is a “presumption that parents have enough money to go online and buy a pair of children’s shoes and send them back if they don’t fit. A lot of people are struggling financially right now.”
“Some families don’t have the ability to shop online, they need to go into a shop. They could do it safely; they could do pre-booked appointments. I am all in favour of following all public health guidelines, but there has to be some thinking around practicalities surrounding raising kids.”
Have YOU struggled to buy shoes for your kids this year? Let us know in the comments.