Today’s Hint: Stock Up on Too-Big Shoes

Little kids’ feet grow really fast. Yet my sister, who has a daughter two months younger than mine, never seems to have to run out to buy her daughter new shoes.

On a recent family trip, I learned my sister’s secret: She stocks up on successive sizes of the little styles she likes when they’re on sale at sites like Zulily. So, then, when my niece’s feet start seeming a little squished in her shoes, my sister just whips out the next new pair from her collection.

I love this trick for saving money – and time – on kid shoe shopping so much that I recently tried it. Now, I too have a collection of toddler size 7, 8, 9 and 10 shoes waiting in the closest for my 19-month-old daughter’s size-6 toes to catch up.

Today’s hint – buying your little one bigger on-sale shoes in bulk – is just one of the seven tips for saving money on kid shoes that I recently wrote about over at The Frugal Shopper, a new U.S. News Money blog.

And it turns out that my sister isn’t the only one to come up with this frugal shopping strategy.

In a post on three tips to making buying toddler shoes “slightly easier than brain surgery,” blogger Susan Maccarelli shares the similar tip “buy in bulk.” In other words, as she writes, once you find the shoe that works on your little one’s feet, buy the shoe in “the next two sizes up and stick them in the closet to save yourself trouble” as your child outgrows his or her shoes.

Others are also fans of the buy on-sale in bulk technique. Rachel Norman, for instance, who writes at A Mother Far From Home, gives this similar frugal shopping tip: “think ahead.”

To be sure, this frugal shopping strategy works best if you already know what kinds of shoes work on your little one’s feet or if most types of shoes tend to fit your child fine (On a side note, I love Susan Maccarelli’s shoe shopping tip to trace your child’s foot on a piece of paper and bring that tracing to a shoe store with you sans toddler).

And this isn’t the only strategy I’ve employed to save money on small shoes. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve let my daughter wear various hand-me-down shoes without feeling any guilt.

My daughter's "selfie" of her sneakers.

My daughter’s “selfie” of her sneakers.

In addition, I also tend to just buy one versatile pair of shoes in a particular size for my daughter. I’m following the “have less shoes” money-saving strategy Gina Lincicum over at MoneyWise Moms suggests and the advice “Remember that they only really NEED one pair of shoes” from Heather Shaw over at Momtastic.

Case in point: Ever since she could walk, my daughter has sported sparkly silver Mary Jane-style Stride Rite sneakers, and she’s now on her third pair of them (see the image to the left).

While the roughly $30 to $40 shoes (depending on where I get them) aren’t cheap by kid-shoe standards, the shoes’ sparkly style makes them versatile enough to be worn all the time, whether my daughter is walking to the park or rocking out at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah (yes, she has been to two such formal parties).

And because the shoes are so versatile, they were the only pairs I bought my daughter during her first year and a half of life (not counting the leopard-print boots she needed when we were in snowy Cleveland, and the one pair of little pink crocs I just couldn’t resist).

You can read all seven of my little kid shoe shopping tips in the full post over at The Frugal Shopper. What tips for saving money on little shoes did I miss?

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  1. says

    Glad my toddler shoe shopping tips helped. To be fair, the foot tracing was not my idea, I have heard it a few different places. I am so sad that my son’s extra wide Healthtex shoes at Walmart only seem to go up to a size 6 (his current size)…back to the drawing board! I will check out your full tips post for sure!!

  2. says

    We buy shoes off season and too large – like I grab the cheap snow boots at the end of winter. I have two little girls so I know the shoes will get use!

    Also I have some great consignment shops near me that sell slightly used shoes, at a fraction of the cost.

  3. Lindsay says

    I’m a big fan of buying used shoes… we’ve found almost all of our son’s shoes at a local consignment shop and most of them are in excellent condition.

  4. says

    I totally do this when our favorite brand, See Kai Run, has their semi-annual close out sales. You can score even more % off and/or free shipping if you subscribe to their email list and just watch the sales really carefully. BTW, I do this with Tea Collection too when they have their semi-annual sales. Pretty much any of your favorite brands you can do this with, and it’s awesome!


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