When my girls were little, their pediatrician told us if we are ever going to spend sizeable money on anything for our children, it should be in the shoe department. He suggested Stride Rite shoes and so we have always had those shoes for our children. The two things that he said was very important are:
1. Make sure that you can bend them with your thumb and middle finger. Put the shoe in your hand with your thumb on the heel and your middle fingertip at the toe. You should be able to bend the shoe with those two fingers. If not, the shoe will not bend while walking and is not the best shoe. Most shoes at Stride Rite can do this.
2. It is important that the shoes come up to the ankle at this point. They need the additional support and by having a high top shoe, this should be sufficient.
Also, the great thing about Stride Rite shoes is this; if your child has a high instep or wide feet (which two of my kids did) their shoes come in regular and wide. With the instep problem, their shoes always fit my kids better. Now, for church shoes or dress shoes, I would find regular shoes for the outfit but when it came to everyday shoes, I bought Stride Rite. They also carry really cute everyday boots, like hiking boots, for the winter months.
This makes me long for the days of when my kids let me pick out their clothes and shoes......!