A frequent question I am asked on a weekly, if not daily, basis revolves around children’s shoe-gear. Some common questions include the following:
“What is the best type of shoe to buy for my child?”
“How often should I replace my child’s shoes?”
“What brand of shoe do you recommend?”
We have our own personal recommendations regarding shoe gear. There is a list of brands and companies which have been reviewed, inspected and gained the approval of the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) which outline the important factors to consider when purchasing shoe gear for children. A complete list can be found at apma.org.
TIPS TO CONSIDER
1. CHILDREN’S FEET CHANGE WITH AGE. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child’s feet grow.
2. SHOES THAT DON’T FIT PROPERLY CAN AGGRAVATE THE FEET. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation.
3. NEVER HAND DOWN FOOTWEAR. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way.Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
4. EXAMINE THE HEELS. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
5. TAKE YOUR CHILD SHOE SHOPPING. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
6. ALWAYS BUY FOR THE LARGER FOOT. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
7. BUY SHOES THAT DO NOT NEED A “BREAK-IN” PERIOD. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also, make sure to have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.
8. STIFF HEEL COUNTER. Look for a shoe with a stiff heel counter. The back of the shoe that caresses the heel, should be firm.
9. TOE BOX SHOULD NOT BEND “TOO MUCH”. The toe of the shoe should have moderate stiffness (not too flexible, but not too stiff)
10. RIGID MIDFOOT/ARCH/CENTER OF SHOE. The middle of the shoe should be rigid so that motion occurs in the proper location of the feet.
After purchasing your child’s shoes, remember to check their shoes regularly for wear and tear. A significant amount of wear on any specific part of your child’s shoe that is significantly greater than the wear on the rest of the shoe may be indicative of the need to visit a foot and ankle specialist to have your child’s walking pattern evaluated. If you suspect your child of having an abnormal walking pattern, please contact our office at 208-855-5955.