Fall is in the air, so you know what that means? Football! A friend of mine, whose child is beginning to play the sport this fall, asked me for my recommendations on buying cleats for his son. I offered a few tips that parents need to consider when buying cleats and how it might affect their son or daughter’s feet in the future.

  1. Always begin with having your child’s foot measured by a professional. They should be standing straight up and have their full weight on their feet. Make sure the shoe is not any larger than a thumb’s width beyond your child’s big toe. This will allow room for your child’s foot to grow while still being able to run and play well.  Remember to bring the socks they will be wearing for that particular sport. Many of the sports socks are very thick and will make a big difference in the fit of the cleat.
  2. Make sure your child gets the most comfortable cleat and don’t anticipate that it just needs time to be “broken in.” Have your child walk around in them for a bit to see if they fit well. If they are too tight, they can cause unnecessary foot pain, or if they are too loose, they can cause blisters. Cleats should be lightweight yet offer support. Be patient and make sure you get the right cleat, even if it means going to multiple stores.
  3. Maybe one of the worst things about cleats is they can stink – just ask any parent of a teenager! Ideally, cleats should not be worn every day because they need time to air out in between wearings to prevent the bacteria that causes athletes foot.
  4. Educate yourself on the different cleats needed for different sports. Soccer and baseball cleats provide extra stability on the field. Football cleats often extend above the ankle for additional support. Also, be sure to check the requirements for the program your child is participating in. Before you invest in a pair of cleats, make sure the specifications of that particular sports program are adhered to.

Finding the right cleats for the right sport is essential to a great and healthy season. Before you know it, they will be playing in the big leagues and can return the favor and buy you your own pair of cleats!  Keeping your child’s feet healthy is worth the investment of research, time and money. Have a great football season!