My Toddler Won't Wear Shoes.

Updated on August 25, 2011
L.A. asks from Westborough, MA
12 answers

My son is 17 months old and doesn't want to wear shoes. He doesn't mind socks but as soon as I put the shoes on he cries histerecly and won't stop no matter how long I wait. It's been torture dealing with this issue.
Please let me know if you have any advice.

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So What Happened?

yeah I tried all different shoes and sandals, he doesn't like either. I'll keep trying, but it's just torture.
Thank you!

I would love to trade, he is 17 months old and supper stubborn. Thanks for the advice I will try the stride rite and see how it goes. At this point he doesn't care what they look like just doesn't want to put them on or keep it on.

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answers from Dallas on

May not be the "right" advice... but I wouldnt make him wear shoes. My pediatrician recommends that the kids wear shoes is little as possible anyway - just when they need to because of the terrain they walk over.

Unless it is too cold or wet, I would just let him wear the socks for protection.

Have you looked into water shoes? They are sort of sock like.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Rochester on

My guess is that even though you think his shoes fit, they don't. For 15 month old has a very high instep, and MOST shoes don't fit her because they are tight across her top arch and she just throws a FIT. However, if I find a pair of shoes that really fits, she LOVES them...but it's hard.

Adidas makes these toddler sandals that have to velcro straps across the top that completely open, so they are totally adjustable to the "height" of baby's foot. She wore them all summer.

I can tell you that my mom has bought her all kinds of adorable, expensive shoes, and NONE have fit right, even though they are fine for length. Really, you have to check for the width and the heighth of a foot, too, and that's a little more difficult to do. Sometimes walking sneakers (Nike style, etc) have a higher top in them. My daughter's newest pair of shoes is this style (like a runner, whatever you call them) and she likes them a lot...but flat tennies do NOT work.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

I would insist he needs to wear shoes outside of the house. Then I would tell him we can go to the store and pick any pair you want.

My daughter went through a stage and still has issues with socks. I really only started making her wear them only at school or in the winter time. However, last summer she got a bad blister from wearing a tennis shoe without socks and now she doesn't fight it much anymore. So I sorta feel your pain.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Could be worse.. he could keep stripping! But I would take him to skechers or another fun shoe store and get him the flashiest when stomped on shoes!!! Light up shoes and little kids seem like a good combo!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

My son used to act out something terrible when trying on shoes and sneakers. It was down right embarrassing. Long story short, size and fit do matter. My son had a very wide foot, so while the length of the shoe was find the width and sometimes how the top stitching of the shoe would cut into his foot. He couldn't tell me that so he just acted like a crazy fool. Keep searching and trying on things. You will find something that can and will work for him. My prayers are with you. He will grow out of it when he can tell you what the heck is going on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Oh I remember those days. My advice is to have his feet measured and get him a pair of stride rites. They are expensive however the soles are extremely flexible so walkig will be easy. The shoes they sell at payless, walmart, etc all seem to have thicker less flexible soles so walking is hard since the sole doesn't bend easily. Another advantage to stride rites is that they have wider shoes available which came in handy for my first grandson and his size XXW flintstone feet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I do not have experience with this, but I do know that down here every child loves their "Boots", yes, cowboy boots.

We have western stores that sell them, but my sister says she has seen them a Wal Mart. How about a pair of rain boots? it would be a start.

What happens when you take him to a place like Target or Wal Mart to look at shoes. Does he like the colors and be willing to put them on? Have you had him "help you put on shoes?" "How about helping dad with his shoes?

Keep us updated on what works.. It will be good so we can help other parents with this problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Are the shoes too tight? He's old enough he should be wearing shoes to go outside. I wouldn't bother in the house though. How does he react to sandals? Although soon it'll be too cold for those too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

does he need wide shoes? mine won't take his off you want to trade? :)



answers from Boston on

did he outgrow his shoes? My now 10 year old would only scream about wearing shoes when they were too tight....Go to Stride Rite -- try the outlet even-- get him measured and let him pick out his shoes...still works for my little man *except for when he wanted healy's --NO healy's) but anyways, other than that I'd only make it an issue to go outside...Good luck



answers from Springfield on

Have you tried soft soled shoes like shoo shoes

My kids loved wearing these since it felt like the had socks on. You can get knock offs at Target and other stores.



answers from College Station on

Maybe re-think that he needs to wear shoes. You are torturing yourself and I know just what that feels like. From my experience, it's not worth it.

It's entirely possible that he will want to wear shoes after a few days of you not fussing over it. If he was in pre-school, I would wonder how many days of going shoe-less it would take before he would want to wear them because he sees other kids wearing them!

There are "shoes" that are very like socks. Maybe you can find some of those.

Anyway, my advice would be to stop making a "battle" out of wearing shoes. Consider whether he will truly get hurt when he doesn't wear them. Is he playing in an area that has thorns? Is he often with other toddlers and in and around water, where you would fear he might get some foot fungus? Is this for a church, or other more formal, setting? Having him wear dark socks should be a problem at church.

Just, maybe, rethink this. You are a great mom and, definitely, know, better than anyone else, what your child _needs_ and what is _nice_ to have. Good luck!

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