How to Buy Shoes for Kids
Careful Back-To-School Shopping Prevents Foot Problems
Kids can experience problems during the school year from poorly fitting shoes, including blisters, ingrown toenails, poor performance in sports and distraction from classroom work.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) offers the following tips for getting the proper fit in shoes:
First, examine the shoe itself. A shoe should have a firm heel counter (stiff material on either side of the heel), adequate cushioning of the insole, and a built-in arch. It should be flexible enough to bend where the foot bends-at the ball of the foot, not the middle of the shoe.
There should be about one-half inch of space (or a thumb’s width) between the tip of the toes and the end of the shoe. Feel the inside of the shoe for any staples or irregularities in the glue that could cause irritation. Examine where the inside stitching hits the foot. Look for signs of irritation or pressure points on the foot after the shoe is worn and have shoes stretched or modified by a certified pedorthist.
Shoes should not slip off at the heels.
Shoes should be chosen that fit the larger foot best.
Certain footwear styles, such as trendy platform shoes, don’t allow for proper foot function and stability. Wearing high heels at any age can cause ankle sprains, pain in the ball of the foot and other problems.
Shoes should be replaced if they become too tight or the heels wear down. Shoes that wear out too quickly or unevenly may indicate that a standing or walking problem exists and should not be ignored. In certain cases orthotic inserts can help.
Parents who have concerns about their child’s feet should see a health care professional with a focus on preventative care for the feet such as podiatrist. Pedorthists are trained in foot anatomy and construction of shoes and foot orthotic devices.