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If the Shoe Fits

You may be tempted by cute flowers and bright slip-ons, but little kids, especially toddlers and preschoolers, need flexible-yet-firm sandals for their developing foot muscles and arches. Sports sandals usually pass the test. Look for:

Back straps so feet won't slide out when they're running. Forget open-back sandals for now.

Soles that aren't too rigid. When you flex the shoe, it should bend easily at the ball of the foot (right below the toes), not in the middle. But you shouldn't be able to twist it like a pretzel.

Flip-flops? Too flimsy. Platform sandals? Too hard.