How to properly fit your child/teen with Winter Boots ...

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LovingMum
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26 Oct 2010, 4:47 pm

My 14.5 year-old son was only just diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in late August 2010. He has many sensory issues, and it has been very difficult to obtain properly fitting footwear because he indicates they do not feel good. In particular with Winter Boots, what ends up "feeling good" on his feet, end up being quite large, and they almost fall off his feet.

In September 2010, I was able to get him fitted for his sneakers (and the sales person was able to confirm the proper fit by pressing on the toe area). His sneakers are a men's size 10.5 US, 10 UK, 44.66 FR, 285 JP, 275 CHN. :D The Winter Boots he wore LAST WINTER are a size 11 US (we are in Canada; but the sizing is the same). Technically, these should still be fine for now; but he indicates they are too tight and hurt his feet. And, because of the way these, and most winter boots are constructed, only the person wearing the boots can verify the fit. I don't want to end up with footwear too small or too big.

Would any fellow parents of children (or adults) with sensory issues with footwear, be able to give me some guidance.

My son absolutely hates to go shopping, and it's almost impossible to even shop for the basic things he needs ... so if I can get in an out of the store during the least amount of time, I would really be indebted to you for your help/advice.

Thank you, :D



LovingMum
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26 Oct 2010, 4:54 pm

I should also mention that he has had the same sensory issues since he was born ... these issues did not just come to the surface when he was diagnosed in Aug 2010. Although, this has given me an understanding of WHY he has had so many issues over the years. Now, I'm trying to learn about Asperger Syndrome, and how I can best him him.



azurecrayon
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26 Oct 2010, 6:14 pm

one thing to remember is that brands vary, and models within the same brand vary. so he may have been sized to a 10.5 but that does not mean all 10.5 shoes are going to fit or feel ok.

i always find the winter boots to fit differently. the ones ive purchased in the past for my little guys tend to run small, so i have to buy sizes larger than their regular shoes. maybe it has something to do with the fuzzy lining material? i dunno. i rely on my kids to tell me which feels better, too tight, etc. my oldest is 14 now too, and he hates boots so hasnt worn them for years. he sticks with a pair of lace up sneakers and i use waterproofer on them if i get too concerned with his feet getting wet. he has sensory issues with clothing, so we've learned to compromise in a few places.

have you tried different kinds of boots? for instance, the lace up work boots should stay on better than slip on boots, even if they are overly large on his feet. and you can get good warm ones with thick liners in them too.

one thing is for sure: whether they are the correct size or not, if HE thinks they feel wrong, he will not wear them, or it will be a fight to get him to.


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buryuntime
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26 Oct 2010, 6:39 pm

I'm guessing you're in a cold place in Canada where winter boots are required footwear? Lots of autistic people just won't dress appropriately for the seasons, either for sensory issues or not feeling temperatures correctly. You'll have to comment on the climate -- if there is any footwear that can be used instead that would be preferred by him you'd best go with that.

Shoes are hard to shop for without the person going along with because the sizes vary on brands and the shapes are different. Maybe you can get him a reward if he tries on different shoes with you during a time it is least crowded.



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26 Oct 2010, 7:50 pm

I saw this topic pop up and immediately wanted to give the OP a hug. We haven't done too badly on boots, but winter gear is difficult for kids with sensory stuff.

My suggestion - get the giant boots he likes and buy some really big furry boot liners. Little kids' boots often come with them, but you can buy them online separately at places like Sierra Trading Post and Camp-Mor; you may be able to find them at your local outdoor store.



LovingMum
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26 Oct 2010, 9:29 pm

Thank you for your suggestions. Our winter temperatures can be as cold as -45 degrees celcius (approx -50 degrees F), and this does not include wind-chill. Ideally, I would like to get something that fits him relatively well; because if they are too big, his feet will sweat, and his feet will get cold (as proper fit is part of the temperature rating on footwear). Even before I knew he had "legitimate" sensory issues, I was sensitive to his needs, and every year he ends up trying on dozens of footwear of varying styles, at various stores. No matter what style footwear he determines "feels" the best, if they fasten with velcro, he doesn't fasten the velcro, if they lace up, he will just leave the laces loose, so he can just slip the boots on and off. I've purchased extra liners to take up the extra space in the boots he has chosen. And, yes, the actual size of the boots vary by style and by brand, so he does really need to try the boots on. And, we get too much snow in our area to just go with hikers or sneakers (although, I'm sure he'd love to try this!)

He's really prone to illness due to a heart problem and other health issues, so I really try to ensure he dresses appropriately for the weather. (This is difficult, as I find that when it comes to temperatures - both winter and summer, he is either over-reactive or under-reactive and does not dress himself appropriately). Because of his confirmed diagnosis, and "now" knowing that his sensitivity and frustration associated with winter boots (as well as in relation to other footwear, clothing, bedding, etc.) is valid ... I want to ensure I continue to be sensitive to his needs, and not frustrate him further. Rewarding him with something or an activity doesn't seem to work really well, as he truly hates trying on anything ... no matter how desperately he needs the item.

I'm going to try to find out what he would like to have as a "reward", and make a game plan as to where we will go this weekend or early next week to get his boots. If you have further suggestions, I would appreciate your input. And, thank you for the hug - I receive it and appreciate it. Thank you!



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27 Oct 2010, 8:27 am

Since you are in Canada, I can recommend a store called Canadian Footwear that we have recently had good luck with. You can make appointments with a "fitting specialist" who can quickly ascertain the correct fit for your son, and they carry the higher end shoes that are well made and tend to be more comfortable than department store brands. It is a fairly calm, quiet environment in the stores (at least in our local ones), and having a person helping who has extensive training in proper fitting can make the shopping go very quickly. The shoes are more expensive, that is the major drawback.

Good luck. We are about to shop for winter boots ourselves, and I am not looking forward to it.



Caitlin
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27 Oct 2010, 10:18 am

Ditto to Annotated Alice, Canadian Footwear is a good place to start. Another option is moccasins/mukluks - if he's willing to wear something no other teenaged boy is likely to be wearing in his class :)


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LovingMum
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27 Oct 2010, 9:39 pm

We're in New Brunswick, Canada. There used to be a really good family shoe store; but they closed two years ago. Last winter, my son really liked the WindRiver boots we purchased from Marks Work Wearhouse. They are on sale this week for $139.99, and are listed in the local flyer here:

WindRiver Tristar HYPER-DRI® HD2 Water Resistant Transitionals
http://marksworkwearhouseca.shoplocal.c ... -101027ENG

A similar pair of boots, on sale this week for $89.99, and are listed in the local flyer here:

WindRiver Tristar Transitional Boots with T-MAX®
http://marksworkwearhouseca.shoplocal.c ... -101027ENG

I hate to spend so much on winter boots that will only fit for one winter season or less; but, where it's such a struggle to find anything that he can tolerate wearing; perhaps this is the best option. What do you think? Thanks.



annotated_alice
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28 Oct 2010, 8:00 am

$140, ouch! But if he finds them comfortable it might be worth it.



Caitlin
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28 Oct 2010, 8:04 pm

One thing to keep in mind is that, if they are still in good shape, you can re-sell them online when he outgrows them (kijiji etc).


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