Most children seem to be very oversensitive when it comes to their feet. At least for the first few years after they start walking properly. It seems to start when they are babies, when socks are kicked off faster than you can keep popping them back on to wriggly toes. Once they can dress themselves, the one thing that seems to cause the most amount of distress is putting on socks incorrectly and having the seams bunch up. As an adult this is uncomfortable, but at nowhere near the level that your pre-schooler will protest.
Once kids are walking unaided as their main mode of transport and the buggy is tucked into the under stairs cupboard, then they will start wearing proper solid soled walking shoes the majority of the time. These need to be sturdy and comfortable, as your little one will spend a lot of time with their little growing feet fastened into them. Too tight and you could cause growth issues in the toes and bones in the feet, and too loose and you risk problems with your child’s knees and back in later life. First shoes are widely available and are specifically developed for little feet. The novelty of tiny shoes will likely lead you to a collection of quite a few pairs, and you might need to remind yourself that they only have two feet!
When your son or daughter starts school they will almost certainly have to wear a school uniform. Part of this uniform is a pair of smart shoes, which they will have to wear 5 days a week for most of the day during term time. This is a long time to wear one pair of shoes, and this means that they must be exceptionally comfortable as well as supportive of the natural growth of the foot. School shoes are bought at least annually to keep up with growth but they needn't cost a small fortune. You can find some great school shoes for girls at George and they have a good boys selection too.
When checking a pair of school shoes make sure that they have a flexible yet firm sole, that bends slightly under pressure but does not fold easily. Also ensure that there is adequate support where the ankle meets the upper foot. Whether this support is in the form of a buckle strap or where laces stop, as it is this that prevents the foot sliding down in the shoe causing joint and back problems as your child develops. Your child will be quick to tell you if something doesn't feel right, and, as they will have to wear them all the time you should check any areas that they say are niggling. Don’t forget to recheck every few months to check that there is a bit of growing room beyond the big toe, and replace them if they are getting too snug.
Kids will always fuss about their feet at some point, but by making sure you have kitted them out in good quality well fitting shoes before you've sent them off to school each morning, you can rest assured that weary little feet won’t turn into a more serious problem in later life.