Daily Life

Getting fitted for new shoes

It’s been many years since my son set foot into a shoe store. Due to his sensory issues, he couldn’t handle being in one for very long. I don’t know if it was because of the noise, lights or people. He’s not able to explain to me. I ended up ordering something to measure his foot, it’s what they have at the shoe stores to determine size.

Lately I’ve been wanting to take him to the store for a proper fitting. I wondered if he could handle going into a store like DSW. If we planned it right, we could be quickly in and out with a new pair of shoes.

So I asked around and one mom recommended Potomac River Running. I had bought shoes from there before, and I remembered it being a small store. It might just work for my son. Not too big and noisy. And parking right outside on the street, making for easy access. So we decided to give it a try.

To set expectations, I explained to my son that we would be visiting the store, they would look at his feet and give him a new pair of shoes. Then we piled into the car and went.

When we arrived, there were several people at the store. My son seemed excited to be there, which was encouraging. Then a man walked up to us and offered to help. I explained my son needed to be fitted for shoes. Then my son started stimming and I explained that he has autism.

The man was named Joe, and he wasn’t bothered at all by my son. We brought him over to stand on what looked like a weigh scale. It turned out to be a scanner.

My son couldn’t stand still for long, but he was on it just long enough to get a scan. I was amazed at what it picked up. It got his shoe size, width, how high his arch was and a couple other readings. And if you’re looking at the photo, yes those are dots on his feet. They’re from the Merrell HydroMocs. They’re similar to a Croc. I jokingly call them polka-dot feet.

Anyhow, back to the foot scan. Joe explained that my son had a wide foot, high arch and recommended shoes based on that.

He also had my son walk around the store and studied his “gait”. I took that to mean the way he walks. My husband assisted my son in walking around, a couple times he got curious and tried to go into the back room. Thankfully we were able to redirect him.

When Joe was done with his analysis, he went to the back to see what shoes were available. He came back with a pair of Saucony and Brooks. My son was very comfortable with the Brooks so we ended up getting those.

As we checked out, Joe explained that he was a teacher and had a student similar to my son. I was pleasantly surprised at the news. I then asked if he was teaching in ESY, and he said no. Darn.

I asked if this was his summer job, and he explained that he also worked at the running store during the school year. That tells you something if a teacher would rather work at a shoe store than teach ESY. He probably needed a breather from school.

Anyhow, that’s a subject for another post. If your child needs to be fitted for shoes, this is definitely the way to go. If your child has sensory issues and can’t handle being in a store long, I recommend someone wait in the car with your child while you go in and get someone to help. Then bring your child in for fitting. And if they can’t stand still on a scanner, they have the traditional tools to measure feet.

This store was very flexible and willing to work with my son, it wasn’t a problem at all. If you don’t have a Potomac River Running in your area, Google for a shoe store near you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a running store. But hopefully they will have people trained in shoe fitting and can make for a smooth experience.