It’s not something I write so much about these days, but my four year old has hypermobile joints. It doesn’t affect us hugely now she can walk, but we had a rocky time when she was a non-toddling toddler. Put simply, her joints are too flexible, which meant she struggled to walk until she was two years old and needed special boots plus plenty of physiotherapy. She still occasionally has physio treatment and, when she broke her leg last summer, she had to have extra sessions to learn to walk again.
These days, her hypermobility is often something we forget about. She can run and jump with the best of them. But when it comes to choosing shoes for Frog we’ve struggled.
Before she was at school it wasn’t such an issue, because she could wear boots in the winter for pre-school, or hi-top trainers. These days though, she needs to wear smart school shoes – boots aren’t on the uniform list. I’m sure I could wrangle special dispensation, but Frog doesn’t want to be different from the other kids in her class. She wants to wear shoes like everyone else – it’s hard enough for her four year old brain to understand she has to wear special insoles in her shoes when none of her best friends do.
I wasn’t sure if we’d find a pair of suitable shoes for Frog on our recent trip to Clarks. In the past I’ve had to buy her shoes online, searching for a pair supportive enough to fit her insoles in without the shoes slipping off her feet. But I was pleasantly surprised.
There was a wide variety of options, in both patent and non-patent black leather. There were our favoured T-bar styles, along with simple straps and some shoes with laces too – as well as a few pairs of boots.
After her feet were properly measured in both width and length (most exciting thing ever, apparently) Frog tried on two pairs of shoes that were expertly fitted. The sales assistant made sure the insoles slotted in properly to her shoes, with the back coming up high enough for her feet not to slip out of them. The insoles add a bit of height to the inside of her shoe, so if the back of the shoe isn’t high or supportive enough, they just fall off her feet. This is also really bad for her bendy ankles and could lead to her falling over – her balance isn’t the best as it is.
First of all she tried on a pair of cute rabbit T-bar shoes that I picked out. But when she told me, “I don’t think they fit properly Mummy – I think those other ones will fit me much better,” I knew she had her eye on another pair.
We eventually went for a pair in black patent leather with a T-bar. Despite not being boots, these shoes support Frog’s feet really well. The insole doesn’t slip out of them because they have a lovely high back, plus the T-bar across the front adds extra grip too. Oh – and they look pretty swish. So swish, in fact, that she chose to wear them to school today on non-uniform day, as part of her “Lapland Day” outfit.
But of course the best thing about them for a four year old little girl is that they have magic lights on the bottom that light up when she walks. Shiny shoes that flash when you walk? She’s in heaven.
Pretty cute don’t you think?!
Disclosure: Thank you to Clarks for working with me on this post.