Back-to-school time is on us. Besides shopping for your child’s school supplies, you’ll likely be purchasing new childrens shoes for them to wear to school and gym class, too.
If your kids are like most kids, they probably don’t like to go shopping for shoes. However, your children’s feet can grow fast (every 6 months, give or take) up until about the age of 18. Therefore, it’s important that their shoes fit correctly and comfortably.
How to Make Childrens Shoe Shopping More Successful
Here are 12 tips to help alleviate some of the hassles involved in childrens shoes shopping:
- If you experience problems while you’re shoe shopping with your child, visit a store that specializes in children’s footwear. The staff will likely have more experience in fitting children’s shoes.
- Have your child’s feet measured by a trained professional when buying shoes. Always have both feet measured since one foot is usually larger than the other. You should buy shoes to fit the larger foot. For more information on proper shoe fit, refer to the WalkEZStore Shoe Fitting Guide.
- Shop for shoes later in the day since your child’s feet tend to swell as the day goes on. By trying on shoes when your child’s feet are swollen, you’ll ensure that the shoes will fit comfortably all day long.
- Make sure your child tries on both shoes. Have them walk around in the shoes to ensure that they fit properly and are comfortable. The shoes should bend with the balls of your child’s feet (generally, in the area of the shoe just below the laces) as your child walks.
- Check the toe room of the shoes while your child is standing. You should be able to feel about a half-inch between your child’s longest toe and the edge of the shoes.
- Never buy shoes that are too big. Too-large shoes can slip off of your child’s feet as your child walks, causing them to trip. Plus, shoes that are too large may cause foot problems, like hammertoe, to develop.
- Never buy shoes that are too tight since they will likely cause your child’s feet to hurt. The shoes should fit snugly, but not too tightly against your child’s heels. Look for irritation marks on your child’s feet after they have walked around in the shoes for a few minutes in the store. Also, don’t assume the shoes need to be “broken in.” They should fit comfortably from the get-go.
What to Look for in Childrens Shoes
Purchase shoes made of breathable materials, such as leather or canvas, instead of synthetic materials.
- Check the insides of the shoes for irregularities in stitching, glue or stapling, which can cause your child to have foot discomfort. Also, press on both sides of the back of the heel to make sure it doesn’t collapse.
- Look for sturdy, thick soles that will protect your child’s feet from injury. However, the sole should still be flexible, so it bends with the foot. Also, check for textured soles to keep your child from slipping on slick surfaces.
- Don’t buy shoes that are too heavy on your child’s feet since they can cause your child to develop an abnormal gait.
- Avoid buying children’s shoes with heels. Shoes with heels can lead to improper foot development. Look for flat styles or tennis shoes.
- Allow your child to have some say about the shoes once you’ve found shoes that fit properly first. Let your child choose the color or design of the shoes they like best from your pre-approved collection.
The most important thing to remember when purchasing your child’s shoes is that your child’s feet need proper support while they are growing.
Foot Orthotics Can Help Children’s Feet
If your child complains about foot pain, or foot conditions run in your family, you should have your child’s feet examined by a certified professional. If your child has flat feet, heel pain, or Sever’s Disease, the WalkEZStore sells littleSTEPS® foot orthotics for children. littleSTEPs foot orthotics are specifically designed for children, and they enable early treatment for common foot problems. They can help support flat feet and improve your child’s posture. Additionally, they can control heel pain and symptoms of Sever’s Disease.
If arch supports are needed for older children, the WalkEZStore recommends ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics. Our custom foot orthotics can help your child’s feet function more efficiently while improving posture and balance. Additionally, if your child is active in sports, our custom orthotics can help reduce your child’s risk of foot injury.
Generally, custom foot orthotics are recommended for children 3 years and older. They should be replaced regularly as your child grows – usually every 6 months or as your child outgrows his/her shoes. Usually, children should continue to wear custom arch supports until the growth plates in their feet are set. Since girls mature faster, their growth plates tend to close around the ages of 14 and 15. Boys’ growth plates close later at ages 16 to 17.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.® Or, when your child’s feet feel good, they’re usually happier.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.