To buy online or not to buy online
How much more have you shopped online over the last year? A little, a lot, are you now doing all of your shopping online? And will you continue to shop this way when things return to ‘normal’?
It’s no surprise the pandemic has accelerated this trend, the impact is evident in the collapse of some huge high street names and an increasing number of empty shop units. Sadly shoe shops have not been spared and a number have had to close their doors permenantly. There has been a shift in our shopping habits and it can’t be ignored.
One of the main drivers to set up CeCe & Me was a firm belief that children’s shoes need to be properly fitted and not bought online. However, in some areas it is becoming increasingly difficult to find an expert measuring and fitting service, so buying online becomes the most feasible option.
My motivation has always been to help parents make confident decisions about what their children wear on their developing feet, to ensure lots of happy, healthy little feet! Providing the advice and guidance I felt was missing when my children were toddlers, is the foundation of what I do. The sale is not the reason I love what I do (although financially that makes quite a difference!), it’s knowing I have helped people feel happy and confident about what they are buying.
So I have been doing a lot of thinking about how this fundemental element of the service might work virtually. Now I need to turn these musings into reality, which might take a bit of time!
For those of you local to SW18, nothing will change, I am very much here to help, in person, as best I can. For those further afield, I wanted to share some advice to help take some of the guesswork out of buying online.
The single most important piece of advice I can give is, just like clothing, shoe sizes are not standardised, and neither are measuring gauges. Sizing and the way a shoe fits the foot varies considerably across different brands. Never assume once you have a size that all shoes in that size are likely to be a good fit. I have written about this in more detail here.
Remember fit is not just about length; width, depth and the shape of the foot, all affect which styles are most suitable.
Many independent children’s shoe shops now have an online presence, and, if you give them a call, will be very happy to talk you through how to measure and provide guidance on which brands and styles are likely to suit your child’s feet. If you are lucky enough to have one of these shops close by, many, like me, are offering doorstep delivery and will be able to help check the fit in person. Have a look on the Society of Shoefitters website for a list of qualified shoe fitters. These fabulous shops really need your support, it will be a tragedy if more are lost due to the pandemic.
If you have had success with a brand before it makes sense to stick with that, however, do check the guidance on the different styles, they may not all fit the same.
If you buy directly from a brand's website, check whether a printable measure is available or invest in their own brand gauge, and follow the fitting guidance for each style. If there is no guidance I suggest shopping elsewhere!
I strongly advise against passing shoes on to siblings, it might seem like an easy option, but there are lots of reasons this is not good for their feet, read more about why here.
One of the mantras we learn when training is, "shoes are the only item of clothing that can cause long-term damage", which is why we take what we do so seriously. Wearing correctly fitting shoes throughout childhood is the best way to ensure a lifetime of happy, healthy feet!