Back to school with properly fitting shoes!
The choices today for kids’ shoes are endless – and it’s easy to let style be the deciding factor. But there are a few golden rules from a fit and comfort standpoint that you can teach your children from an early age. The most important part of this purchase is ensuring your children have shoes that get them where they need to go comfortably, while preventing foot injuries and problems. Once you’ve found shoes that fit your child’s feet, allow your child some input in the style and color of the shoe to ensure they like and will wear the shoes.
Take these golden rules with you:
Always measure your child’s feet before buying shoes. Buying shoes online can make this a challenge, which is why I suggest shoe shopping the old-fashioned way in person (and supporting local businesses!). It may be tempting to buy shoes that are big so your child can grow into them, but this is a mistake. Shoes that are too big can cause a child to walk in an unnatural way, trip and put excess pressure on the toes, and may lead to foot problems – such as callouses and bunions. Shoes that are too small may cause friction and lead to blisters.
However, you should always size up for the larger foot (feet are seldom exactly the same size, with one foot up to a half size bigger than the other). Always fit the larger foot and make sure to have your kid try on shoes with socks.
Fit & Features
Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Buying shoes made from breathable materials, such as canvas or leather, will help. In addition to being more durable, they will help to keep the child’s foot cooler and dryer, helping to prevent blisters, discomfort, and smelly shoes. Look for a pattern or textured sole. This will provide traction and help prevent your child from slipping.
Children’s shoes should have laces, velcro or some other fastening system that will make it easy for them to adjust their shoes to the proper snugness. As a general rule, avoid backless or slip-on shoes for kids, and always avoid heels on children’s shoes. It is difficult for kids to walk in heels and they are bad for foot development.
Finally, Know When It’s Time for a New Pair
Examine your child’s shoes regularly. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem, such as poor arch support or flat feet, that should be checked by a podiatrist.
It’s best to avoid handing down used footwear – as tempting as it may sometimes be, no matter if the shoe is still practically “brand new.” 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.
Remember to have fun! Taking your child shoe shopping is quality time spent together and can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy feet!
Dr. Michelle Castiello is board-certified in primary care in Podiatric Medicine. To make an appointment in Scarsdale, please call 914-723-8100.