It’s finally spring and time for all those spring shoes we’ve been talking about. Since spring is before summer and summer means vacation, it’s the best time to start your summer shoe shopping as well. It’s also been a while since your kids have worn their sandals, flip flops, or other warm-weather shoes. Meaning, that they’ve probably outgrown them and it’s time to get them new shoes that they can spend the spring and summer months breaking in.
New shoes can also mean new questions. We often get a lot of different questions about our shoe inventory. Questions that range anywhere from how they’ll fit to how to keep them clean. We welcome any and all questions because we want to make sure that when you leave our store, you’re happy with your shoe purchase. It's springtime and one of our favorite shoes for spring is the Footmates Ariel. Here are a few of our frequently asked questions about the Footmate Ariel and our answers.
What are they made from?
Like most shoes from Footmates, the Footmates Ariel is made with leather. Both the upper and the footbed of the Ariel are made with premium water-friendly leather. Why leather? It’s breathable, tear-proof, elastic, sturdy, and adds a sophisticated appearance to shoes. The Footmates leather lining also helps to wick away moisture from your child's foot to help keep them dry and odor-free.
The Ariel does not but most Footmates also include a leather insole. These removable insoles give you the option of Medium and Wide width insoles for customized fitting.
Can I wash them?
We’ve talked before about what and what not to do when washing shoes. With kids’ shoes, there is always the concern of how to keep them looking nice. We’re parents too and we know shoes will get dirty but we still like them to look nice for as long as they can. Kids' shoes, of course, get dirty very easily and more often than adult shoes. Kids are quick to jump in puddles, run through mud, or step in something stinky. Unfortunately, unlike the Tsukihoshi, which can be cleaned easily in a washing machine, Footmates have leather and should never be put in the washing machine. Putting leather in the washing machine can change the texture and look of the shoe. There’s also a possibility of cracking and fading during washing.
For mild dirt and easy cleaning, a baby wipe or damp paper towel can be used to wipe down your child's shoes. Then let the shoe air dry. If your child’s Footmates Ariel is very dirty, how then should you clean them?
Unbuckle both buckles of the shoes so you can reach all the surfaces.
Remove dirt and debris with a shoe brush if you have one. A toothbrush will also work.
Next, using a cotton or microfiber rag, with the excess water squeezed out, wipe down the shoe. If water doesn’t remove the dirt and stains, use a solution of water and mild detergent. Apply it in small amounts. Rub until the dirt is removed then wipe the shoes with a clean rag. Repeat the same process for the sole.
Once clean, use a dry rag to remove as much moisture from the shoes as possible. Allow shoes to air dry
Remember shoes, especially leather shoes, should never go in the dryer. The high concentration of heat that is used to dry clothes isn’t good for your shoes. Following these steps will help keep your child's shoes looking great for much longer.
Are these only in infant or youth sizes?
Unlike adult shoes, children's shoes are the same for boys and girls. Children's shoe sizes range from 0 (infants) all the way to (big kids) 7, with toddler sizes in between. Normally infant (newborn to 12 months) sizes are considered sizes 0 to 2 or 3. Toddler (13 months to 5 years old) shoes from size 2 or 3 to size 12 and big kids (6 years old to 12 years old), are 11 to 12 then start over at 1 once they reach size 13. They then start to lead into adult shoes.
Footmates brand shoes sizes are from 0 to Y3 which roughly equates from infants to bigger kids size 3. The Footmates Ariel comes is in sizes 3 to size Y3. It’s a great option for children's footwear but doesn’t come in smaller infant sizes.
What size should I buy?
So, what size then should you purchase for your child's feet? Footmates know that every foot is unique. Every brand uses different specifications for its shoes when making them. The materials used to make shoe can also affect the way it fits. There isn’t one perfect tool that can be used to size feet to fit every single footwear brand into the same size.
We recommend getting your child’s feet size before every new pair of shoes they get. Children’s feet are constantly growing and can easily change sizes 3 times in one year. Foot growth varies by child, but generally, you should check your infant's footwear every 2 months and your child's footwear every 2-3 months. Poorly fitting shoes will cause unnecessary wear and can cause poor footwear performance. If toes or heels are hanging over the front or back of your child's Footmates Ariel the shoes are too small.
Our shoe fitters and certified pedorthist will size your child's feet for proper shoe fitting but we will still try your child’s shoes on their feet to make sure they fit. Trying on shoes is the only way to truly know if the selected shoes are the correct size with enough growing room.
Are they easy for my toddler to walk in?
After picking out your child’s new shoes and making sure they fit, we like to make sure they walk around our store in their new shoes before they leave. This helps to ensure proper fit but also helps you, as a parent, not to go home with shoes your child can’t walk in. The Footmates Ariel is very easy to walk in but some children simply don’t enjoy the design of this shoe and that’s okay. Different footwear feels differently from one foot to another and children will almost always tell you immediately if they dislike how a shoe feels on their feet.
The Footmates Ariel includes features like maximum flexibility, shock absorption, stability, and slip-resistance, all to make it an enjoyable and comfortable shoe to walk and play in. If the Ariel isn’t something your child enjoys walking in, we can try to adjust certain parts of the shoe to see if that helps. If not, we can find another style of shoe to fit their likes.
Are they easy to adjust?
As we mentioned above, the Footmates Ariel has ways it can be adjusted for your child. We often get this question from buyers who have the right size but the shoe is snug in other places. There are two straps on the Ariel. The first is above the toes. This strap is a buckle closure that uses a standard buckle with a pin and three holes to fit the area your child's toe fits. The second strap has a buckle on it but is actually a velcro closure. This makes it quicker to get your child’s foot into their shoe and then easily close and fit it back to their foot. These two straps together help to adjust the shoe to each child's preference for their shoe but again, if they simply don’t like this style of shoe, picking another style may be better.
Are they durable
One of our most common questions about kids' shoes and adult shoes is their durability. You wouldn’t want to purchase a pair of shoes if it wasn’t going to last. You want them to be able to keep up with the rambunctious playing kids can engage in.
Since Footmates Ariel, like most Footmates, are made from leather, they are extremely durable. If well maintained, a pair of Footmates Ariel could last not only your child but younger siblings or cousins as well. A good pair of leather shoes can last 10 to 15 years if taken care of. We would call that an excellent durability rating.
We hope these have answered some of your questions but if not leave us a comment with more of your shoe-related questions. You can also stop in anytime we're open and we'd love to answer any questions you may have to make the shoe buying process easier!
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