Shoes are possibly the most important ‘clothing’ you buy for your child. A child can wear clothes that are too small or large, be uncomfortable but not get long term problems from them. However not wearing the right shoes can cause long term and even permanent damage to your child’s feet. Gait compensation as a result of foot pain and deformity can lead to painful knees, hips and lower backs. No wonder there are so many teenagers and young adults with painful knees and backs!
Therefore, getting the right shoes for your children is a responsibility that should be a high priority for all parents. Many parents rush to the shop, especially just before school start, and are shopping for the cheapest shoes. This is not advisable as sturdy, good quality shoes are oftentimes a little dearer. Following is a guide for parents when getting shoes for their children and also how to maintain good foot health.
Have their feet measured by a qualified fitter. Make sure both feet are measured for size and width. One foot maybe different from the other. Buy shoes for the larger foot
A fitting gauge is just a guide – all gauges vary in calibration – and also all shoes vary in sizes. There is no standardisation and therefore a fitter that is qualified is so important to get the right shoe for the shape of the foot
Assessment should be made standing as the foot spreads when weight is applied
Buy foot wear from natural materials – cotton, leather etc. These materials allow the foot to breath and mould to the shape of the foot
Adjustable – lace, strap or Velcro fastener – across the midfoot. This allows better fit and for thicker/thinner hosiery and more room if the feet get hot and swollen
Don’t Forget to:
not rely on the question ‘do they feel comfortable?’ for very young children. Toe and foot distortion can occur without feeling pain and cramping
Check for fit – Childrens shoes should be professionally checked for correct fit every 3-6 weeks for infants (0-3 years), 6-8 weeks (3-4 years) and every 10-12 weeks thereafter. A qualified shoe fitter will not sell you shoes if the current ones are a good fit. Don’t be afraid to get a fitting; as they will be happy to measure and give advice accordingly. Never take advice from a shop that asks your child’s shoe size and takes your word for it without checking themselves
Wearing new shoes can lead to blisters. Make sure they wear their shoes with socks. Their school shoes should be worn for short periods indoors before wearing them all day at school
The shoes should bend at the big toe joint. This is important for good foot function
Sturdy supportive sole and upper – including the heel counter
Check your child’s sock drawer regularly and discard outgrown or misshapen socks. Check for seams that can create a knot that rubs on your child’s toes. Socks that are too small can restrict growth and circulation
A fingers breadth of space to the longest toe of the foot
The right shoe for the right occasion. Trainers for sport, school shoes for school, mountains shoes for hill walking and wellies for wet weather!