Back-to-school is in full swing which means shopping for the right supplies. Amongst the usual school supplies and clothes, one of the most important items on most back to school shopping lists are shoes. While most youth are concerned about the latest and greatest shoes, parents should be certain that shoes are functional as well as fashionable. Be sure to carefully evaluate the child’s shoe size, fit, and shoe structure.
When buying shoes, parents should be aware that children’s feet change with age. Also, shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child’s foot grows. It important to always measure a child’s foot before buying new shoes. Improper fitting shoes can cause irritation and foot pain. Many feet are slightly different sizes from each other so shoes should always be fitted for the larger foot.
In addition, take your children with you when shoe shopping because every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road. Children should try on shoes and walk around the store in shoes before a purchase is made. Also, shoes do not usually need a “break-in” period and should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your child try on shoes with the same kind of socks or tights that they would usually wear.
Not only is finding the right shoe size important, the overall structure of a shoe is critical. A well-built shoe should have a stiff heel that cannot be easily squeezed or bent. The toe box of the shoe should bend flexibly when your child walks. And the shoe should have a solid midsole that should never twist in the middle.
It is imperative that the heel of the shoe is carefully examined. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wearing can indicate a foot concern that should be evaluated by a podiatrist.
Shoes should never be handed down from child to child. 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, such as athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
Properly fitting and well-designed shoes can help children avoid years of pain and future ailments. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has put together a list of tips for finding properly fitting shoes for children. Click here for a list of children’s shoes that have been awarded APMA’s Seal of Acceptance. If your child is suffering from foot pain please make an appointment with one of the doctors from Progressive Foot Care.