A well-made shoe that fits right is not only more comfortable for your children, but can help them avoid injury. Do you know what features you should look for in your child’s footwear?
“A pair of well-made shoes can keep children safe from foot problems such as sprains and strains, both in class and on the playground,” says Michael J. King, DPM, American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) President.
The APAM offers these tips for how to buy children’s shoes.
- Children’s feet change with age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child’s feet grow. Shoes that don’t fit properly can aggravate the feet. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation.
- Never hand down footwear. 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.
- Examine the heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
- Take your child shoe shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
- Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size. Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.
To find out how to tell if a shoe is good enough for your child’s feet, including how to perform the simple “1,2,3 Test,” watch the APMA video:
Next: Tips for Buying Children’s Athletic Footwear
Tips for Buying Children’s Athletic Footwear
A child’s basketball shoe:
- should have a thick, stiff sole that helps give support while running and landing from jumps to the basket;
- incorporate high ankle construction that supports the ankle during quick changes in direction; and
- have the strongest support on either side of the ankle.
A child’s court shoe:
- should support both sides of the foot, due to the quick lateral movements and weight shifts in court sports; and
- provide a flexible sole for fast changes of direction.
A child’s running shoe:
- should provide maximum shock absorption to help runners avoid ailments such as shin splints and knee pain; and
- control the way your child’s heel strikes the ground, so the rest of the foot can fall correctly.
- should be made of a natural/synthetic blend, as this helps “wick” away moisture best; and
- not contain any large seams that can cause blisters or irritation.