FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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The design is of course important but should not be the main criterion when choosing: shoes must first and foremost fit properly – they must neither be too small nor too big in order to avoid damaging effects on the development of the foot shape and the course of movement! Since little ones do not yet have a pronounced sense of pain, a child is usually unable to recognise too tight for fit by itself.

The growth of the little feet should therefore be checked regularly, every two to six months depending on the growth phase: Since even small foot sizes are subject to daily fluctuations, the measurement should take place in the afternoon if possible. To do this, you can place the bare feet on a cardboard (if the child can already stand) and trace the outline with a pen held perpendicular to the pape – then add about a good centimetre (12mm) to the longest of all toes and cut out the template.
If this can then be inserted into the selected shoe easily, flush and without deformation, it can be shortlisted. Alternatively, with some children’s shoes – like POLOLO’s – you can remove the insoles of the shoes and make a direct size comparison by putting them on your feet. This is of course the best thing to do. This is the best way to check where the toe print is on the sole, even when wearing the shoe. If the toe is already very far forward, your child has grown again and needs the next size.
However, the official size specifications and the selection with the template or sole cannot replace a try-on by the child, especially since the individual shape of the feet has to be checked in all directions. The thumb test can then be used, if possible on a standing child, to check whether the shoe fits in terms of length:
The thumb must fit between the longest toe (not always the big toe) and the tip of the shoe – but be aware that when children apply pressure to their toes, they can reflexively pull them together and the shoe could then appear larger than it really is: therefore, you should place one hand across the shoe and hold the toes in place!

POLOLO shoes are available from over 800 specialist retailers (specialist shops, catalogues, mail order companies, etc.) in Europe, Asia, America and Australia – you can get a good overview of the shops on the POLOLO world map. You can also order via the POLOLO webshop.

The leathers we use have been awarded the ECARF Seal for allergy-friendly products by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation: Our POLOLOs are regularly certified as being particularly skin-friendly, because soft, vegetable-tanned, chrome-free nappa leather is always used as the material.

Under the motto “Quality of life despite allergies”, ECARF awards everyday products that demonstrably facilitate and improve the lives of allergy sufferers. The quality criteria are based on current research findings.

The POLOLO collection is manufactured by a Spanish cooperation partner near Alicante according to our quality specifications. There, two friends of a few years have set up their own business to produce beautiful, high-quality children’s shoes.

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It can be a big challenge for parents to buy suitable children’s shoes online. Therefore, they often order several shoe sizes to choose from at home – and if one of these pairs fits, the others have to be returned. This can easily result in return rates of over 80 percent, to the disadvantage of the retailer, the environment and ultimately all customers.

Below are two POLOLO advices for buying suitable children’s shoes online:

  1. With the help of a self-made template: On POLOLO‘s web page “Children‘ s Feet” Franziska shows you in a video how you can easily make one. For this, the child should stand upright and relaxed barefoot on a sheet of paper, preferably in the afternoon. Then mark the outermost point on the heel and on the longest toe. Then measure the distance between the heel and this end point with a ruler and add the maximum margin of 17 millimetres: The children’s shoes ordered online should then also have the inner length determined in this way.
  2. For our POLOLOs, we have provided you with size charts for single and double sizes on a web page.

THE RIGHT SIZE OF SHOES

Children’s feet are not miniaturised adult feet, because they are very soft and easily deformed. They still have to develop undisturbed, be trained regularly and need a lot of time to mature completely – even into early adulthood. The skeleton of the baby’s foot still consists largely of cartilage tissue, which is only gradually replaced by bone.

After birth, the little feet grow in short spurts until they reach half of their final length in infancy. The baby foot is a constantly developing system of cartilage/bones, ligaments, muscles and various joints and tendons, which together ensure the mobility of the foot. It grows much faster than the other parts of the body – the growth rate for young children is still up to two centimetres per year, which can correspond to three shoe sizes. From the age of five until puberty, the feet grow by an average of one centimetre per year.

We have adjusted and standardised our sizes in 2021, so the shoes usually fit normally.

An official shoe size printed on the shoe box or on the shoe itself is not always 100 percent meaningful for different models or manufacturers/brands – it is more for orientation purposes. So far, there is no binding standardisation for shoe sizes in Europe yet. Worldwide, there are currently about four established size systems for shoes, but it is not so easy to determine the real sizes of so many different models, whether sandals, winter shoes or loafers, etc.

In Europe, the “Paris Stitch” is mostly – but not always – used:

Here, an EU shoe size corresponds to 2/3 centimetres (6.67 millimetres) in length.

The inside length of a shoe with size 30, for example, is then calculated as follows:

Shoe size 30 multiplied by 2 = 60,
then divide this result by 3: 60 : 3 = 20
(the number 20 stands for the inside length in centimetres).

However, it is possible that a shoe e.g. with size 30 on the outside will not have the expected 20 centimetres then on the inside. According to experts * children’s shoes tend to be almost always shorter and only rarely longer.

For our POLOLOs, we have provided you with size charts for single and double sizes on a web page. You can see very clearly what the inside length of the shoe is. Remember, winter shoes that are lined tend to be smaller because of the lining, sandals that are open at the front tend to be larger.

* Independent Austrian research team "Kinderfüße-Kinderschuhe" (Children's feet-children's shoes)

Research by experts has shown that most official shoe size indications on children’s shoes can be different:
When choosing a shoe that is a size 30 for one brand, it is quite possible to get a smaller number 30 for another brand, which then corresponds more to a 29. A mere orientation on the official shoe sizes is therefore not very reliable – it is better to measure the length in millimetres yourself. In the past, POLOLOs turned out too small – we have therefore adjusted our sizes in 2021.

From your own measurement result (here e.g. 200 millimetres) you can then calculate the true EU shoe size as follows:

Multiply length in millimetres by 3: 200 * 3 = 600,
then divide this measurement by 20: 600 : 20 = 30.
The 200 millimetres inside length of a shoe measured here as an example then corresponds to the true EU shoe size 30.

For our POLOLOs, we have provided you with size tables for single and double sizes on a web page.

When buying shoes for your children next time, please note that the inside length should be at least twelve and at most 17 millimetres larger than the feet!

  • At the age of one to three years, an average monthly growth in length of children’s feet of about 1.5 millimetres can be expected.
  • The feet of three- to six-year-old children then grow by an average of one millimetre per month. With a margin of 17 millimetres, it can therefore be assumed that these children’s shoes will then fit well for about five months * – i.e. until the minimum margin of twelve millimetres is reached.
  • At the age of six to ten, the monthly growth in length of children’s feet is slightly less than one millimetre.
* Average values - but according to researchers' findings, only 2.5 percent of children have a greater growth in the length of their feet.

Children’s foot experts * examined the position of the big toe with kindergarten children and found that only 24 percent of them still have straight big toes.

They were then able to scientifically prove a statistical connection between shoes that are too short and angled big toes: A clear correlation was found for both street shoes and slippers – children’s shoes that are too short can damage their feet!

* Independent Austrian research team "Kinderfüße-Kinderschuhe" (Children's feet-children's shoes)

Sandals that are open at the front have the great advantage that they do not squeeze the toes. Actually, such sandals could then also have less than twelve millimetres of clearance. Nevertheless, experts recommend the following: Provided the children’s feet can be fixed well in the sandals with the straps, they should still have a twelve millimetres‘ clearance – for the following reasons:

  •  Sometimes the front edges of the sandals are quite sharp – if the clearance is too small, the toes will slip over this edge every time.
  • Children’s feet continue to grow – and in order for the sandals to fit for a few months, the twelve millimetres‘ clearance is ideal.

You should bear in mind that sandals initially require a kind of training for the wearing behaviour of small children, because when they wear sandals for the first time, they can sometimes have coordination problems that seem awkward: Suddenly walking doesn’t work so well, because open shoes are still unfamiliar at the beginning – they hang loosely on the little feet and even hinder at first. Experience shows, however, that this will soon be overcome: The children will learn to walk properly in sandals within a very short time.

1. The Thumb Test

This is used to determine whether the shoe length fits approximately – i.e. “over the thumb” – or not. The child should stand relaxed and upright with the shoe on. The thumb is used to feel whether the shoe fits between the longest toe – which does not always have to be the big toe – and the tip of the shoe. If this is successful, the shoe should be long enough and the foot should have enough room to move.
With this method, however, it should always be checked that the toes are not bent in the shoe. To do this, press lightly on the toes with one hand while measuring with the thumb of the other hand. In principle, both feet should always be measured.
According to measurement series by experts * an average thumb has a width of approx. 18 millimetres – the thumb test is therefore ideally applicable for new shoes, provided it is applied correctly (see above).

* Independent Austrian research team "Kinderfüße-Kinderschuhe" (Children's feet-children's shoes)

2. Making your own template

This is a simple method to make sure that the little foot really has enough room in the shoe:
On the POLOLO web page “Children‘s Feet” Franziska shows you in a video how you can easily make one. To do this, the child should stand upright and relaxed barefoot on a sheet of paper, preferably in the afternoon.
Then mark the outermost point on the heel and the longest toe and trace the outline of the foot. Then measure the distance between the heel and this end point with a ruler to determine the foot length. This template can then be cut out and placed directly on a removed insole, for example. It is then important to note that the minimum clearance of twelve millimetres and the maximum of 17 millimetres are taken into account.

Children’s foot experts * have investigated the question of whether children can actually feel if their shoes fit or are too short. Extensive series of measurements have shown that there are always children who wear shoes that are four to five sizes too short.

As part of a separate research project, a shoe test street was built for children:
On one foot they were given a shoe that was far too short, and on the other foot a shoe that fitted perfectly. The children then walked a few steps in them and were then asked whether these shoes fit them: The astonishing result was that children cannot yet clearly define the fit of shoes and then even describe shoes that are much too short as fitting. This is why regularly checking the fit of children’s shoes is so important for foot health.

* Independent Austrian research team "Kinderfüße-Kinderschuhe" (Children's feet-children's shoes)

Children only need their first pair of sturdy shoes when they are already walking outside and their feet need to be protected against cold, dirt and injury. Otherwise, children should walk barefoot or in soft leather shoes whenever the ground and climate permit. Baby first walkers shoes, which fit around the foot like a second skin, are a great alternative to healthy barefoot walking. Barefoot shoes or toddler shoes are just right – they give the feet the freedom of movement they need for healthy development: Like a non-slip second skin, they nestle around little children’s feet, keeping them warm and protected.

The soles of the selected shoes should be soft, light and flexible to have as little impact as possible on the natural development of the feet. Look for non-slip soles and a rounded design that helps prevent stumbling and tripping! The materials should be free of harmful substances, breathable and uncoated.

Children’s foot experts advise parents to take their time with the first shoes. The first steps are by no means a reason to rush into getting children’s shoes!

Little feet develop best without sturdy shoes. Otherwise, light, flexible barefoot shoes should be chosen, which protect against the cold and uncomfortable surfaces.

Unless there is an explicit orthopaedic need, children’s shoes should not be form-fitting or supportive at all – instead they should be as light and flexible as possible! Ideally, healthy children learn barefoot to walk, run, jump and hop.

Baby’s first walking shoes are those that accompany the child’s learning to walk: Not more! They should be soft, flexible and as uninfluencing or supportive as possible. A footbed or similar can be dispensed with if the foot is healthy. This is also the case with POLOLOs.

Baby’s first walking shoes do not shorten the actual process of learning to walk – they can at best accompany this process in the form of light, flexible barefoot shoes, if weather conditions and the nature of the ground make this necessary.

Unlike shoes for adults, which are sometimes even used for years and are worn out according to the individual wearing behaviour, children’s shoes can only be worn for a few months in the first years of life until they are too small – so it could be useful to continue wearing shoes of older siblings, for example. This makes both economic and ecological sense, because it is friendly to one’s finances and helps to reduce the use of valuable resources.

The following should be noted when reusing children’s 2nd hand shoes:

  • As with new shoes, care must generally be taken to ensure the correct fit.
  • If, exceptionally, signs of wear are visible – for example, the sole of the shoe has worn away on one side in the area of the heel and the shoe therefore has an impact on the side – then this shoe should no longer be worn.

POLOLO even offers extra replaceable insoles so that you can freshen up your shoes and put in a new sole for the next child.

For adult feet, experts have found that they grow by about four percent during the course of the day – according to this, they lengthen by a few millimetres and become about one centimetre wider.

There are no comparative data yet for children’s feet. However, experience shows that the size of little feet also varies from day to day – which is why experts recommend adjusting shoes in the second half of the day.

This is a very practical method – but in order to get a correct result, you have to make sure that the length of the insole really corresponds to the inside length of the children’s shoes: If it is too short, it could slip back and forth in the shoe, but if it is longer, it will bend up at the front of the shoe.

With POLOLO insoles, however, you can easily check the fit directly:
The heel must be placed exactly at the rear edge of the insole. It is important to note that the heel in the shoe is about one centimetre in front of the rear edge of the insole. Then the clearance can be measured from the longest toe to the end of the insole: If there is twelve to 17 millimetres of clearance, the shoe fits.

This is quite easy (but it is better if the child comes along) – to do this, the length of the child’s feet must be determined at home beforehand. The best way is to use a template you have made yourself:
On the POLOLO web page “Children‘s Feet” Franziska shows you in a video how you can easily make one. For this, the child should stand upright and relaxed barefoot on a sheet of paper, preferably in the afternoon.
Then mark the outermost point of the heel and the longest toe and trace the outline of the foot. Then measure the distance between the heel and this end point with a ruler to determine the foot length. This template can then be cut out and brought to us at POLOLO‘s ShowRoom.

During the consultation, our team then makes sure that the minimum clearance of twelve millimetres and the maximum of 17 millimetres are taken into account when selecting the size.

But it is not only the length that makes the fit, the width and heel are also important. Therefore, it is better if, at least for the first purchase, the child also comes along. Of course, the selected shoes must also fit well around the ball and heel. Once you have found your favourite model, you can buy the next one in the next size without the child and try it on again at home to see if it fits.

Unfortunately, the topic of “breadth of children’s shoes” has not yet been sufficiently researched: There is no scientifically sound knowledge yet of how broad shoes should actually be in order to fit properly. In addition, there is still no simple and good way to reliably and easily check the breadth (or width – i.e. the circumference in the area of the ball) of children’s shoes.

Although there are suppliers who offer children’s shoes in different widths, initial checks by experts have shown that here too – as with length – the work is not always reliable enough: Instead of actually offering shoes in different breadths, they are often all the same breadth, but with different widths!
What seems a bit confusing now simply means the following: These shoes are made with different heights in the ball area – which is by no means a healthy solution, since children’s feet have also different breadths.

Until this problem is solved satisfactorily, the only recommendation for the time being is to try out different models with the child. You will find that there are different breadths of children’s shoes on the inside. With a lot of patience, it should be possible to find a shoe that fits well in terms of breadth. This check is nevertheless time-consuming, because very rarely can the material still be lifted a little off the foot. But the width can be finely adjusted by lacing or Velcro fastening. Your trusted shoe retailer or our team in the POLOLO ShowRoom will be happy to advise you!

NATURAL LEATHER

It is considered proven that tanning with vegetable substances was already known in ancient Egypt in the 4th millennium BC. Vegetable tanning was the usual method of manufacturing leather for many generations – today only about ten percent of all leather is tanned using plants. The tannins contained in plants, which actually serve as a defence against animal predators, are used as the active ingredient. Worldwide, about 300 different plant species can be used for tanning.
The leathers used by POLOLO are tanned with parts of the Valonea oak and extracts of the tara fruit. Vegetable-tanned leathers are very kind to the skin, and uncoated leathers are also particularly breathable.

Only vegetable tanning agents from harvestable parts of renewable plants are used to tan the leathers we use. 80 percent of these remain in the leather, the remaining tanning agents are completely biodegraded.
Out of responsibility for future generations and as an active member of the International Association for Natural Textiles (IVN), POLOLO consistently follows the strict ecological guidelines of the IVN “Natural Leather” certificate.
By the way, the leather of worn-out POLOLOs is compostable to close the ecological material cycle and avoid waste.

TO VEGAN LEATHER ALTERNATIVES

The so-called “cactus leather” used for our new sneaker line is not really leather! In these shoes, the raw material is a vegan leather substitute. The material is made from the leaves of the prickly pear cactus. The plant is not uprooted, but only renewable leaves are used for the production. The cactus cultivation is controlled organic. There is no extra irrigation and no use of pesticides. Our cactus leather comes from Mexico! Viva México!

Cotton, when produced organically, is a wonderful material. It refreshes, is particularly skin-friendly and does not scratch at all. We at POLOLO like to use cotton (organic) as an alternative to leather for our sneakers. Cotton is also particularly elastic and light on the foot. Like leather, it is very breathable and also has good absorbency – so it is ideal for children’s feet, especially for the summer months. It is important for us that the cotton comes from organic cultivation. Because with organic cotton, monocultures are avoided and synthetic pesticides and fertilisers are deliberately dispensed with during cultivation – as an alternative, plant-based agents and humus are used. In organic cultivation, about 30 per cent rain-fed agriculture is used to avoid additional irrigation. The undamaged soil stores much more water.

POLOLO organic cotton shoes:

  • 100 % cotton (organic agriculture)
  • Ban on genetic engineering
  • No synthetic pesticides
  • Optimised water consumption
  • High social standards / fair wages
  • Preservation of the ecological balance
  • Health friendly colours
  • Washable at 30 degrees Celsius on the gentle cycle

“Together for a clean ocean!” This motto of the SEAQUAL Initiative inspired us to create our new colourful children’s shoe collection made from recycled marine plastic.

Unfortunately, many millions of tons of waste still end up in our oceans every year. We all know this is a threat to our environment! At Seaqual®, this plastic waste is collected from the seabed off the Spanish coast by around 400 partner fishermen and then processed into Seaqual ® fibre. Each kilogram of Seaqual® produced corresponds to one kilogram of waste.

The goal is a clean sea!

SEAQUAL focuses on plastic waste from the seabed. The SEAQUAL partner network starts with fishing boats and extends to spinning mills, weaving mills and brands dedicated to ridding the ocean of waste and producing ecologically sound yarns, fibres and fabrics.

The Seaqual® material: We normally do not use polyester, but this system and the quality of the fabrics more than convinced us. Seaqual ® has the same properties as fibres made from conventional polyester, but is far superior to them from an ecological point of view. It actively contributes to cleaning the oceans, saves water and energy consumption and reduces CO2 emissions. Material traceability and certificates also assure the end consumer that by choosing a Seaqual ® product, they are supporting the end of plastic pollution in a sustainable way.

In a nutshell:

  • Seaqual® fabrics – outer material
  • Cotton (organic cultivation) – inner lining
  • Shoe sizes 18/19 to 26/27
  • Non-slip POLOLO sole
  • Integrated elastic for perfect fit
  • Washable at 30 degrees Celsius on the gentle cycle

 

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