My son won't wear shoes and socks

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2013
My son won't wear shoes and socks
Mon, 06-10-2013 - 10:34pm

HELP! I am at my wits-end with shoes for my 6yr old son.  Crocs have been his main shoes his whole life due to numerous issues with socks and shoes 'not feeling right'.  As a toddler, he also had issues with socks and pants with buttons/zips and still won't wear tracksuit pants with elastic cuffs - they have to be straight legged.

His current crocs I have thrown out - they are smelly and broken and too small.  The next size are too big (he likes shoes extremely tight) and frankly, I would like to get him to wear something other than crocs, esp now his is old enough to have some understanding of what is going on.

We searched high and low for the right pair of shoes to wear this winter (australia).  His normal sneakers (that he must wear for football) he felt slipped up and down when walking so we chose EXPENSIVE basketball high-tops that won't slip and that we could tighten until any blood circulation was cut off.  We stayed at the shop for 30 min walking, running making sure they were perfect.  He was happy and even wore them home.

This morning - he hates them and wants to throw them in the bin. I dragged him to school (with threats of LEGO being taken away) crying and him trying to ruin his shoes on the paving and even biting them!  I took another pair of socks to school to change them when we got there, hten had to leave it up to the teachers.  I am home to a double shot coffee!

I know he will forget about the probelms as the day goes on and enjoy himself at school, but then we will be at square 1 again tomorrow morning.

I wonder if there are psychological issues going on or if it is just a learned behavioural thing......set to test me!!!???

Does anyone else have or had similar issues?  Should I stay strong and make him wear the shoes for a few weeks so they can at least get worn in?

Advice is much appreciated!


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Sat, 06-15-2013 - 7:40am

My 4 year old has to have his shoes TIGHT. My nephew is the same way. They can't have velcro shoes because they constantly adjust them and wear out the velcro. I can't get his shoes tight enough for him so he won't even let me put them on. Going to be a BIG issue this fall when school starts especially since he needs to wear a uniform with specific style shoes. Hoping the slip on shoe is tight enough since DH will be LONG gone before we leave for school.

My oldest had sensory issues with clothes too. Mostly soft pants. He refused to wear jeans unless they were the cheap walmart pull on ones (worked for me cheap and no fights) We had botton issues too but he also had motor skills delays. Most of the sensory stuff he out grew THANKFULLY because if not he'd be living in sweatpants.

I do find I buy smaller size shoes the my 4 year old needs. Seems to help some with the too loose complaints. How his feet aren't cramped and sore at end of day. The weather is warming up hear and I THINK I found a pair of sandles he will tolerate but only time will tell.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 06-11-2013 - 3:19am

I don't have a child of this age (my kids are now adults) but I saw the title on the main page and decided to jump in.

My ds was very particular about how clothing felt when he was that age (probably starting at about 4yo or maybe younger. He was a very fussy baby and in retrospect it may have been partly due to the way clothes felt even then). Seams in sleeves, labels in shirts, he pulled his socks up to his knees for a while...we went along with it as best as we could, tried to find clothes that didn't bother him etc. I really don't think he was making it up or doing it for attention, I think he really was very sensitive to the way things felt. Eventually he outgrew it/became desensitized, I don't even know exactly when. The good news is that he is normal and well adjusted, and was not particularly demanding for the rest of his childhood.

I'm with your son about shoes that feel like they're slipping, it drives me nuts! Or they get tightened so much that my feet are going numb, not good either! I have narrow heels and its hard to find shoes that fit properly. In sneakers/running shoes the brand Asics is the only one that gives me a really good fit in the heel cup, and they do make kids' sizes...if you can find that brand where you live it might be worth checking out. Another trick for too-loose shoes is to get those foam insoles intended to cushion, they take up space in the shoe making it more snug. They can be cut to fit. That might be an idea to make your ds' shoes feel tighter and can be removed as his feet grow.

I imagine that you will have to make him wear the shoes, doesn't the school insist that they wear some type of shoes? And of course he must wear them for sports. Sorry that I don't remember exactly how we negotiated such things...but parenting was full of negotiations for us. Best of luck, hopes this is a phase that gets outgrown soon.