Like me, you probably have children getting ready to go back to school. You’ve taken your back-to-school shopping list, and purchased pencils, notepads, folders, etc. But, have you given much thought to your children’s shoes. Children’s feet grow a lot as they get older and shoe and sock sizes should keep up. Check the heels – children are likely to wear down the heel of a shoe more quickly than outgrowing the entire shoe. If the heel is worn down, it’s time for new shoes. Here are some important considerations when shopping for children’s shoes:

Shoe Structure

Choosing properly-structured shoes will ensure the healthy development of a child’s growing feet. A good shoe will be flexible enough to allow freedom of movement, but also sufficiently sturdy to offer stability and balance without hindering proper foot growth. Buy shoes that don’t need to be broken in – children’s shoes should be comfortable immediately.

  • Flexibility – The best shoes for children have flexible soles that can bend with each step, provide support in the midsection to eliminate twisting, and provide stabilization and shock absorption in the heels. The soles need to have a textured surface with non-slip properties.
  • Toe Protection – Unprotected toes will get banged up so buy shoes with closed toe boxes. However, there should be enough space in the toe box for unobstructed foot development. In addition, they shouldn’t be too stiff or, conversely, bend too much. All the toes should be able to move freely without getting scrunched together.

Buying New Shoes

Almost everyone is born with healthy feet but by the time adulthood is reached many people have some type of foot problem caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes while growing up. When buying new shoes always have your child’s feet measured first. Measuring is best done at the end of the day when the feet are the most swollen.

  • Take Your Child with You – Don’t leave your child at home while shopping for shoes for them, even if you think you’re sure of the right size. Find a store that specializes in children’s footwear, as the staff will be well-trained in measuring a child’s feet. When trying on shoes, children should be standing up, with their weight evenly distributed on both feet and their toes flat in a natural spread.
  • Fit the Larger Foot – Just like adults, children usually have one foot larger than the other, so buy shoes to fit the larger one. To ensure a good fit, it helps if your child is wearing the socks that are going to be worn with the shoes. When you insert your finger between the child’s heel and the back of the shoe, the fit should be snug. Choose shoes with laces or velcro to hold the foot in place.
  • Removable Insoles – Insoles can be a big help in getting the right fit. Removing the insole, and having your child stand on it, removes any guesswork about the fit. For instance, you can easily see where the longest toe lands. Especially if the insole is stamped with a smiley face, your younger child will think it’s fun.

A Final Note – No Shoe Sharing

Never put your child’s feet in hand-me-down footwear. Just because a pair of shoes fits one child comfortably, don’t assume that it will fit a sibling the same way. Also, never share shoes among your children. Not only is each child’s foot different but sharing shoes can spread fungal infections like athlete’s foot and toe fungus.

When to Bring Your Child to a Podiatrist

When a parent is adequately prepared, a shopping trip for new shoes can be a pleasurable and fun experience. However, if your child is experiencing foot pain or any type of foot problem, make an appointment with Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle today. We specialize in treating children’s feet and want to ensure that your child enjoys a pain-free school year.