Footwear Advice for Children

Parents so often worry about their children’s teeth, eyes, and most other parts of the body, but do not worry so much over the developing foot. As numerous adult foot conditions can have their beginnings when people are young, awareness to shoes in kids can minimize the risk of these issues in adults.

Significance of the footwear to the child:
Badly fitting children’s shoes can cause a number of conditions in adults such as hammer toes, ingrown toe nails, foot corns, calluses and deformed joints. Considering the high level of discomfort and pain that these disorders can cause, it is obviously logical to attempt to prevent these disorders by ensuring that the child’s footwear is fitted properly. Foot conditions in kids are usually possible to avoid.

Fitting shoes for the child:
The most important factor in footwear for a child is that they fit. Preferably, this means that shoes are fitted by someone who has had some special training in the fitting of children’s shoes.

Advice for the fitting of children’s footwear:
* Children should have their feet measured around every 3 months (thus making sure the need for new footwear as required).
* Generally, for a shoe to be accurately fitted, there should be a thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe.
* When viewing the bottom (sole) of the shoe, it ought to be somewhat straight (not curved in too much) – feet are straight, so the shoe should be straight.
* The fastening mechanism (laces, velcro, buckles) must hold the heel securely in the back of the shoe (the foot really should not be able to slip forward in the shoe).
* the heel counter (back part of the shoe) should be robust and stable.
* the footwear should be flexible across the ball of the foot, since this is where the foot bends.
* Leather and canvas are a better material – these are more robust and can breathe. Artificial materials tend not to breathe as well, unless they are of the ‘open weave’ variety. Steer clear of plastics.
* Make certain the footwear have curved toe boxes to allow the toes more room to move.
* Shoes should not need to be “broken in”. If they do, they can be either poorly designed or inadequately fitted.
* An absorbing insole is useful, as the feet can sweat a lot – children are quite active!
* Numerous retailers specialise in footwear for the child – use them!
* Fitting footwear correctly in adults is also just as important

Three tips for examining the child’s footwear:
There has to be a thumb width between the end of the footwear and the end of the longest toe = length is proper.
You ought to be able to pinch the upper of the footwear between your thumb and forefinger (this may depend on the nature of the material) = width is correct.
Does the shoe fit snugly around the heel and arch? How stable is the footwear when trying to ‘pull off’ the shoe? = good fit.