Many of you are in the market for new shoes for your kids as summer winds down and we head into fall. With such a wide selection of shoes available for kids, where do you even begin? The key points to consider are fit, form, and function.
Make sure your child has proper fitting shoes. Kids’ feet grow fast, so it is important to check the fit of their shoes every 2-3 months. It is better to err on the side of having the shoe a little too big than too small. A shoe that is too small can affect growth and development of the child’s foot.
Match the shoe to the form of a child’s foot. Feet are made up of 26 bones that support the body. The bones of the foot are not fully hardened until age 18. Stay away from shoes that are too stiff as this can cause a loss of mobility and function. Instead, choose a shoe that is flexible to allow the child’s foot to move naturally.
What will your child be using the shoe for? If it includes running and playing, ensure there is proper support and shock absorption. It is also helpful to have rubber soles with good grips to provide traction especially when climbing on playground equipment.
I never shop for shoes online unless I am re-purchasing the same exact shoe that I have had in the past. I like to hold the shoe and check for flexibility and support. Beware that occasionally shoe companies change shoes from year to year, so if you bought a specific shoe in the past, the new version may not be the same. Also, there is no way of saying a certain brand of shoe is good because each brand has a wide range of shoes within it, some good and some not so good.
When I pick up a shoe, I check for 2 things:
Does the shoe bend in the toe box?
It should to allow for natural movement of the toes while walking or running.
Is there a solid heel counter?
This is important if you have a child that is more of a pronator. Contrary to popular belief, not all the support of a shoe is in the arch. Some of the pronation should be corrected at the heel.
Which child really needs the support of a shoe for proper alignment?
The one on the left.
You can see the flattening of the arch and the heels pointing outwards.
These 2 photos are the feet of my 7-year-old twin boys, which proves that different kids have different footwear needs.
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