Balance Bikes, Scooters and other ride on toys are great fun for children and provide lots of opportunities for exercise and outdoor activity. They are popular in early years settings as they teach balance and coordination. However, they can be hugely detrimental to shoes, particularly leather shoes.
Children instinctively use the shoes as brakes, often dragging the toes along the floor behind them to slow down, turn or stop. This will inevitably destroy a pair of shoes very quickly indeed. Leather is not designed for prolonged abrasion on tarmac or other rough surfaces and will not last long at all if used in this way. This kind of wear and tear will fall outside of any manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee period and can therefore prove a very expensive mistake!
Much of the time the damage we see from this type of wear occurs in early years settings and parents and guardians are not always aware of it until it is too late. We therefore recommend planning ahead and talking to your child’s early years provider about the kinds of toys they will be using and the most appropriate footwear for the equipment.
If your child is going to be using a ride on toy then it is important to teach them how to brake properly using the sole of the shoe rather than the toe area. Ideally they would use an old pair of shoes on the scooter as even using the sole will lead to increased wear, although a rubber sole will be more hard wearing than a leather toe!
If they use a scooter or similar at home or nursery then we recommend using an old pair of shoes that you don’t mind being scraped. It you use a ride on to travel to or from school then we recommend using the old shoes on the scooter and changing when arriving at or leaving school premises. However you approach balance bikes they are great activity for your child and lots of fun but please take care of those shoes!