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BABIES
Children 2 to 6 years old
Children 6 to 12 years old
Maintenance

Babies

AT WHAT AGE DOES A CHILD’S BONES START FORMING?

The foot of a newborn baby has no bones per se. All future bones are there in the form of cartilage. The complex array of muscles and ligaments is in full development. The cartilage, however, has the shape of the bones to come. Very fragile and malleable, cartilage will evolve into bone over time. At the age of 10 months, for example, bone formation is only beginning. By the time the child is three years old , the bones will have taken shape but they will still partly be made of cartilage. It is only by the age of 21 that the foot will be completely shaped!

WHEN SHOULD A CHILD START WEARING BOOTIES?

Before your child starts standing and trying to walk, it is not necessary for him to wear booties. However, a soft leather bootie can complement his look and allow the child to get accustomed to wearing footwear. Our Panda’s experts suggest you avoid synthetics such as vinyl and plastic because they stimulate perspiration. In time, your child will try to stand up and take his first steps. This is the right moment to buy his first pair of walking shoes (normally between the age of 6 and 12 months). "First step" booties are specifically designed for this stage of your child's development. Because the reinforcement is quite flexible, the baby has freedom of movement allowing him to master the delicate art of balance. Some of our models are equipped with extended leather sole to provide maximum stability and help build the child's confidence. When your child walks, jumps and runs with ease, he is ready for a real walking boot. This boot offers a flexible sole and superior support in order to maintain the ankle in a stable position. There is no specific age at which a child starts walking on his own. This memorable moment usually takes place between the ages of 7 to 15 months. By the age of 2, your child will be ready to wear shoes.

DO YOU RECOMMEND THAT A CHILD WALKS BAREFOOT?

Yes, this is an excellent way to develop and reinforce muscles and tendons. Walking barefooted on natural surfaces such as grass or sand is very healthy for the feet. On one hand, these surfaces provide many points of contact and allow to absorb impact. On the other hand, the hard and uniform surfaces of our homes multiply the stress of impact on the heel that absorbs all the weight. Today's walking boots are designed to provide freedom of movement while offering stability, shock absorption and true comfort. You will notice that the reinforcement at the rear of a boot is not that much higher than that of a shoe. However, for a young child, a boot is recommended because it keeps the foot in the proper position, whereas low cut shoes may not stay properly on babies' feet.

HOW SHOULD BABIES FEET BE MEASURED?

The feet of a child who has not yet learnt to walk firmly should be measured while he is seated to help our Panda’s specialists in determining the right size. In order to do so, they will apply slight pressure to the foot and spread the toes, which are often curled up. It is very difficult to have a child stand up straight before he has learnt to walk. By measuring his feet in a seated position, his walking boots will be perfectly fitted. Once the child has started walking, his feet will be measured while standing.

WHAT SIZE SHOULD MY CHILD WEAR? WHAT ARE THE ADJUSTMENT CRITERIA?

Did you know that even if your child's feet are size 5, he could just as well wear a size 4 or 6 boot? Size often fluctuates from one manufacturer to the next. The size that is measured only gives an idea as to what should be purchased. It is very important that the tip of the shoe be about one-half of an inch (a little more than one centimetre) from the toes to allow space for growth. To provide a perfect fit, our Panda’s specialists will assess the following six points: • The heel : It should be in the right position without applying pressure to the sides of the foot. • The spacing at the top of the foot. • The lacing of the boot should be parallel. • The width of the shoe should be checked with the child in a standing position. • The length of the shoe. • Flex points should be in the right place and the heel should remain in its proper position, while the child is walking.

HOW LONG SHOULD A NEW PAIR OF BOOTIES LAST?

It is very difficult to estimate the length of time that a pair of booties will last, because growth is sporadic and irregular. However, our Panda’s consultants say booties should be changed every three months and usually until the child has reached the age of 2.

WHY ARE CHILDREN’S SHOES SO COSTLY WHILE THEY ARE SO SMALL?

Due to their small size, children's shoes require more hand work in manufacturing. There are no compromises being made on the quality and details of their materials. For instance, you will notice that collars are cushioned, some linings are made of leather and arch supports are of superior quality. Considering that your child has a wide selection of garments in his wardrobe but that he always wears the same pair of shoes, they then become the most important investment of his wardrobe and at Panda, we know it!

UNTIL WHAT AGE SHOULD YOU PAY ATTENTION TO CHILDREN’S FOOTWEAR?

You should be giving special attention to your child's feet throughout his growing years. This is why well-fitted quality shoes are essential. Did you know that feet are not fully-grown until age 21? Ill-fitting shoes put pressure at the wrong places, causing irreparable damage to your child's feet, particularly during their growing years. Even when this stage is over, nothing is more uncomfortable than shoes that are not properly fitted!

DO YOU RECOMMEND THAT CHILDREN WEAR RUNNING SHOES?

Actually, a good quality running shoe can replace a walking boot. It is important, however, that they be made of leather. Well-known brands such as Nike, Reebok, L. A. Gear and Brooks are all manufactured quality products. Their running shoes offer strong reinforcements, excellent arch support and flexible soles. Your child's feet get proper support and comfort that allow for healthy growth. You can find all of them at Panda’s stores. It should be noted that canvas shoes do not offer the same kind of support and comfort as leather models. Panda recommended that they be worn occasionally as a second pair of shoes. By doing so, you will also reduce the wear on your booties, especially if your children happen to play in a sand-box.

IS SOCK CHOICE IMPORTANT FOR MY CHILD’S FOOT?

Yes! You should always make sure that the socks you purchase have a high percentage of natural fibres (cotton or wool). Synthetic fibres do not absorb perspiration and can cause skin irritation. Inferior quality socks can cause a number of problems, including badly located or heavy seams that cause discomfort. Socks that are too big will produce folds that are uncomfortable.

WHY CHOOSE PANDA FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS IN CHILDREN’S FOOTWEAR?

Panda stores specialize in the fitting of children's footwear. Our Panda’s counsellors always measure both feet, and proceed with a complete 6 points fitting, from the heel to the toes. They also keep a record of your baby to monitor his growth and send you a reminder every 3 months so that the fit may be reassessed . Panda stores offer the widest selection of footwear for children from manufacturers throughout the world. Because Panda is Canada's largest chain of children's footwear specialists, consumers are certain to get highly competitive prices.

CHILDREN 6 TO 12 YEARS OLD

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR CHILDREN

At Panda we care about your child's feet and, now that you have made it through those crucial first two years, we would like to tell you a little more of what you can expect in the years ahead.... Your baby has come a long way with his little feet. Even after two years, his journey is far from over... as a matter of fact, it has just begun! Up to now, baby's feet have undergone a remarkable transformation. The muscles and ligaments in his feet have developed and strengthened; the arch has begun to take shape. Fragile and flexible cartilage has started to harden. Now, at last baby's growth has slowed and both mobility and balance are almost under control. We can easily fool ourselves into thinking that well-fitted shoes are no longer as important. The care you give to growing feet at this stage of development is just as important as when your child was an infant. Panda’s specialists are concerned with the well-being of your little ones and would like to do everything they can to keep you well-informed. Our Panda’s experts have therefore prepared the following notes especially for the parents of children aged two and up. We are sure you will find them helpful. Growth and Development...as your child matures Fortunately, baby's growth slows down after a couple of years. However, it remains unpredictable until adolescence! So it is difficult to estimate how long a child will wear his new shoes. Between the ages of two and three, a child's foot can go up a size over a period of four to six months; whereas from age three to five, a jump in size can take between five to eight months. Over five years old, a change in size may occur anytime between six and twelve months. Of course, those growth spurts can come at any time! The cartilage of a two-year old has barely begun to harden. However, at three years of age the bones are partially formed (you'll notice the arch has begun to develop). Some cartilage will not finish hardening until growth is complete, which is around the age of 21! Even though a child no longer needs high boots to support his ankles after the first two years, his feet remain fragile and sensitive to whatever pressures a bad fit can cause and this will be the case throughout their growth. Actually, a large percentage of foot problems experienced by adults, were caused by ill-fitting shoes when they were growing up. The importance of a good fit is essential if we want to avoid problems as our children’s feet grow. From time to time have your child's feet measured at Panda. Our specialists will be happy to ensure that their old shoes are not too small. Or, you can do your own six-step inspection, just like our Panda’s experts!

SHOE MEASUREMENT AND FITTING ARE NOT A CHILD’S GAME!

Because Panda knows all too well that a lot shoes do not provide the same fit; hence, we cannot rely on the size we see on them. That is just a starting point. What really counts is a proper fitting. With the help of the following six steps, our Panda’s specialists can determine whether a shoe fits your child's foot. To begin, they always measure both feet in order to know what type they are and also to see if one foot is bigger than the other. Then they will examine both shoes...

NO MORE BOOTIES!... DOES IT MEAN NO MORE QUALITY?

After two years of age, the child no longer needs to wear high boots. However, quality footwear and great fit are still extremely important! Children are very active and have an abundance of energy. When running and jumping, they are not aware of the enormous pressure (over four times the child's weight) that is absorbed by a single impact point. Good support is therefore an essential element to avoid ankle injuries and other problems. At Panda, we know it! Concern with quality and support is even more important when it comes to the child's main footwear. In addition to adequate support, comfort can make all the difference! Good leather is supple and durable, absorbs perspiration and is easy to maintain. Good quality soles are also more comfortable because of their better flexibility (exactly where it is needed), shock absorption, lightness, durability and traction. As the child gets older, he becomes even more active but does not outgrow his shoes as quickly. The quality of a durable and comfortable shoe is very important for your child's well-being. Can you think of anything more unpleasant than having to walk all day in uncomfortable shoes?

SHOULD YOU PASS ON USED SHOES TO THE YOUNGEST?

Certain types of shoes can be passed down from the oldest to the youngest, such as those only worn from time to time: rain boots, slippers and sandals. However, shoes worn every day generally take the shape of a child's feet, that is to say the pressure and flex points are formed by the foot's movement. Often a child's everyday shoes are worn until they are too small and also worn out. Actually the support of old shoes will have softened. Should you wish to pass on winter boots, Panda’s experts would advise you to replace the lining to get the most warmth and comfort out of them. Have you ever tried on the shoes of a friend who has the same size feet, and found it most uncomfortable? Well, it's quite normal being that the flexpoint, lumps and bumps are in the wrong spot. Our Panda’s specialists will be happy to check if the "hand-me-downs" fit.

WHAT ROLE WILL THE CHILD’S NEXT SHOES PLAY IN IS WARDROBE?

What an important question to ask! When you choose new footwear, take the time to discuss with our Panda’s specialists the role that these shoes will play in the seasonal wardrobe of your child.Therefore, you can stress quality according to the shoes' function. The accent on quality is greater if the new pair is destined to be worn on a daily basis, and for long periods of time. Evaluating the shoes' function can ensure you that you are spending your valuable dollars in the manner which best serves your needs.

CHILDREN 6 TO 12 YEARS OLD

HOW TO CHOOSE

These days, children face great pressure to be fashionable. As most parents already know, most kids want to be "in" . However, when it comes to choosing fashionable shoes, our Panda’s specialists will ensure that you won't compromise fit and quality. Leather-all-time favourite for shoes and runners- is recommended for its comfort, durability and easy maintenance. Leather "breathes" and keeps the foot dry. Some fashion footwear is available in materials and will offer comfort close to leather shoes. The experts at Panda will gladly inform you about the properties of our footwear collection. At Panda you will find an awesome collection of quality and fashionable footwear that meets the requirements of our " tween" generation.

MAINTENANCE

PROTECTION

For suede, nubuck, leather of any type and fabrics such as nylon and canvas, Panda’s experts suggest that you apply protection when the shoes are new and regularly from then on. Therefore, you will avoid problems related to salt and calcium. Water will not penetrate and dirt will stay on the surface.

PRACTICAL TIP

When you spray protector on winter boots, we recommend doing the same to those troublesome areas on winter snowsuits (more precisely on knees, elbows, and behind). You will certainly see an improvement in matters of waterproofing and durability.

CLEANING

Be sure to clean the shoes before polishing to remove marks and dirt that can stand out on the shoes. Also, a quick cleaning often greatly rejuvenates those older shoes!

POLISHING

There are many different products that are all very easy to use. They revitalize the shoes and at the same time cover scratches, making them look like new again. Our Panda’s advisors suggest you never polish on top of marks and dirt.

INNER COMFORT

Sometimes using insoles makes the shoes fit better and more comfortable to wear. Extra support is also a frequent solution to help a child's weak ankles. Note that supports can be removable and interchangeable between most types of shoes. Our Panda’s specialists will be happy to tell you more about shoe care.