Is it OK for kids to wear secondhand shoes?

When kids grow out of their shoes so quickly and good shoes can be very expensive to buy, secondhand shoes and passing shoes down from one child to another seems like a good option.

However there are a couple of things you need to bear in mind as the shoes your little one wears in childhood can make (or break) their future foot health.

So yes, whilst it’s OK for kids to wear secondhand or pass-me-down shoes in most circumstances, here’s what to check for before they start wearing them, so you know whether they can be worn safely or really need to be thrown away.


For more on choosing footwear for children, read HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT KIDS SHOES


General wear and tear
How worn are the secondhand or pass-me-down shoes? Generally, babies and crawlers don’t get much use out of their shoes, partially because their feet grow so fast, but also because they can’t walk or run around so much as older kids. However, toddlers shoes are likely to have seen more wear and tear, with lots of everyday running, jumping and tearing around.

Inner sole wear
Have the inner soles adapted to the original owner’s feet? Most shoes form to the foot, so wearing hand-me-downs with compressed cushioning or shoes that have already been “formed” may have a negative effect on your child’s foot.

Pop your hand inside the shoes and see if you can feel toe imprints or heel dents. If you can, avoid these shoes as your little one’s feet will have no choice but to try and fit into these spaces a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. Not ideal for soft, growing feet.

Outer sole wear
Soles need to be in good condition, no worn down edges, holes or obvious breakdown of the rubber or leather. Your child needs a flat, soft and bendy sole for their foot health.

Look for signs where the previous owner had a tendency to walk on the inside or outside of their foot. Shoes with this type of wear and tear will put stress on your little one’s feet and should be thrown away.

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