LEXINGTON, Mass., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Stride Rite Children's Group (SRCG), a leading provider of premier children's footwear, today unveiled its new STEP™ -- Scientifically Tested Everyday Proven™ -- program designed to help parents select the proper shoes to support a child's growth and development from ages one through five.
The STEP system is a new in-store program intended to make shoe shopping easier on parents and helps ensure quality, healthy footwear for every key developmental stage. stride rite shoes under the STEP program are built with fit, flexibility, comfort and durability in mind and are scientifically tested, as well as validated through studies on children's walking patterns in various shoes including barefoot. stride rite branded shoes go through extensive testing of materials, fit and wear with shoes typically being fit-tested on at least five children and real-world wear-tested for a period of 30 days. As well, the recently completed 2010 "Effects of Footwear on Children Learning to Walk" study, a SRCG-commissioned research initiative conducted in conjunction with the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, validates stride rite's design as being best for baby to reduce stumbles and falls when learning to walk. Specifically, for example, the rounded edges and soft structure of the SRT™ Soft Motion product outperformed all other shoe products and tested the closest to barefoot. Shoes that mimic barefoot are important as babies and toddlers need footwear that conforms to the surfaces they are walking on and flexes in multiple directions.
"stride rite footwear has always been developed with the highest of standards, backed by the latest research and technology, which moms have come to trust since 1919," said Sharon John, President of SRCG. "Our new STEP program provides parents with a simple and helpful shopping experience that enables them to make the 'rite' shoe decision to meet the developmental needs of their children's feet among a stylish selection of quality stride rite options."
Few parents realize that children's feet remain vulnerable to ill-fitting shoes right up to the age of 18 years. A recent survey of 1,132 Moms conducted by Mom Central Consulting (MCC) found:
96% of Moms surveyed felt that proper footwear is either very important or important for their child's overall well-being, although they did not know the critical years for bone development or walking patterns.
80% of Moms never discussed the importance of foot development and proper footwear with their child's pediatrician.
69% of the surveyed Moms did not know if their child's shoes have been tested, even though a quality shoe is the most important factor when making a purchasing decision.
44% of Moms don't know critical bones in the foot aren't completely formed until age 5.
The effects of childhood foot damage can show up in posture and walking gait even in the early 20s. The STEP program helps address the needs of children's feet and provides parents an easy-to-shop method that is based on both the developmental stage of their children, as well as the trusted and proven assurance behind every stride rite shoe.
"Up until age five, a child's foot is still forming and is mostly cartilage, making it easy for parents to accidentally squeeze feet into ill-fitting shoes," said Dr. Tanya Altmann, FAAP, a pediatrician and best-selling author of Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers. "stride rite's STEP program helps to educate parents on how choosing the right footwear is a significant building block in a child's wellness."
The program consists of three distinct STEPs including:
STEP 1: Pre-walkers
Soft support allows tiny toes to wiggle freely.
Child's Developmental Stage:
Kicking their feet
Key Technology: Robeez® by stride rite® is a pioneer in pre-walkers and offers a wide assortment of leather soft sole shoes that are designed to flex and bend to help promote healthy foot development. And with the elasticized easy-on, stay-on feature, those little feet will always be protected, no matter where adventure leads them.
STEP 2: Cruisers & Early Walkers
Unique design mimics the natural shape of the foot to reduce stumbles and falls.
Child's Developmental Stage:
Taking a few steps
Walking independently for less than 5 months
Key Technology: From crawling to cruising, SRT™ Soft Motion is designed for early walkers offering a unique design shaped like the actual foot with rounded edges conforming to the bare foot to build confidence and reduce stumbles and falls. SRT Soft Motion is stride rite's most flexible technology and is designed to protect and support little feet without restricting movement.
STEP 3: Off & Running
Cushioning, durability and flexibility keep up with your kid on the go.
Child's Developmental Stage:
Constantly on the move
Key Technology: When children are off and running, stride rite's Sensory Response Technology product is the best choice. The stride rite SRT collection is designed to optimize the biomechanics of the foot to allow children to develop healthy and natural walking patterns. SRT Preschool is engineered for active toddlers as their feet continue to go through a critical development stage. Plus, only SRT Baby and Preschool feature the Check Fit System™!
stride rite has translated the STEP education program in its stride rite stores through vibrant signage and a color-coded tiered wall display. Retail prices range from $22 to $50 across all three STEPs. For more information and to learn what STEP your child is visit www.facebook.com/striderite.
About The Stride Rite Children's Group, LLC. and Collective Brands, Inc.
Stride Rite Children's Group, part of the Performance & Lifestyle Group unit of Collective Brands, Inc., markets the leading brand of premium children's footwear in the United States under such brands as stride rite®, Saucony® Kids, Sperry Top-Sider® Kids, Keds® Kids, Robeez® by stride rite® and among others. For 90 years, the company's passion for excellence in design has been focused on ensuring the proper development of children's feet with a commitment to innovation, research and technology.
Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its nearly 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk®, Dexter®, Champion®, Zoe & Zac™, the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections Abaete for Payless, Lela Rose for Payless, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose, alice + olivia for Payless, Christian Siriano for Payless and STLPxAirwalk, among others; stride rite, focused on lifestyle and performance branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including stride rite®, Keds®, Sperry Top-Sider®, Robeez®, and Saucony®, among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®, Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at http://www.collectivebrands.com.