Buying shoes for your child can be a challenging task, however when it comes to school shoes it is important to choose well. Children can spend up to 40 hours a week in their school shoes and it is likely they will test them out on all terrains and all activities.
During the first 12-15 years of life our feet grow very quickly and external forces such as footwear pressure shape and influence the development of the bones in our feet. It is therefore essential that when buying shoes for our children we look for shoes that will support and enhance their foot’s growth and function.
Here are some handy tips for back-to-school shoe shopping:
- Consider size and fit. I cannot stress how important correct size and fit of shoes are for your child’s development. Have your child’s feet measured to determine their exact size. Be sure to measure both feet, as one foot can be longer and/or wider than the other. If there is a discrepancy, always choose shoes to fit the larger sized foot.
- Ensure that there is one thumbs width between the end of their longest toe (not always the big toe) and the end of the shoe. This should be checked when your child is standing, not sitting.
- Make sure the shoes are wide enough by checking that the widest part of the foot corresponds with the widest part of the shoe. Ensure the depth of the shoe is adequate by seeing if your child’s toes can move freely within the toe box at the front of the shoe.
- The shoes need to have a firm heel counter – the section which wraps around the heel at the back of the shoe. Test this by pushing around the outside of the heel counter – it should be strong and stable, not fold down when pushed.
- The shoes should only flex where the toes bend…not in half. Test this by placing the shoe in between both hands and bend each end of the shoe towards the other. Also, shoes should not twist easily when rotating the front half away from the back half of the shoe as though you are wringing out a cloth.
- Look for shoes that have a secure fastening such as laces or Velcro and avoid slip on shoes, such as ballet flats. This will ensure a secure fit and prevent your child’s foot from overworking to hold onto the shoe.
- Look for shoes with a leather upper as this is a breathable material and will also provide increased comfort. A non-slip sole such as rubber is also of benefit.
- Shopping for shoes towards the end of the day is best to allow for natural swelling of the feet. Take the socks your child will be wearing with their school shoes with you to get a better fit. If your child has orthotics, be sure to also take these when trying on footwear.
- Finally, don’t forget to ask your child if the shoes are comfortable! A well-fitted shoe should not cause blisters, discomfort or pain.
Ascent Footwear are endorsed by the Australasian Podiatry Council and are available exclusively from The Athlete’s Foot. Another trusted brand of children’s footwear is Clarks. If you would like further advice regarding your child’s feet and their footwear please contact us directly, we are more than happy to help!