Growing and developing little feet need well-fitting shoes to support your children to live every day to the fullest – just like they want to!
The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments. With so many working parts, this intricate and highly developed structure in children’s feet needs well-fitting shoes to allow proper development.
Health and wellbeing start from the ground up. An imbalance in the feet causes discomfort and can affect a child’s development, from simple things such as ingrown toenails to more complex issues such as nerve damage and feelings of anxiousness.
Children cannot always tell us what’s wrong, they just feel uncomfortable. And their shoes may be the simple cause.
Related article: The Most Common Foot Problems in Teenagers
Here are 7 tips to help you choose the right shoes for your children. And we are here to help you if you need professional advice.
1. Correct length – leave a thumb’s width at top of shoes for growth
Just enough length allows some room for growing feet as you don’t want to be stifling a growth spurt. Too much length doesn’t provide enough support and can result in shuffling and a lack of sure-footedness. A good rule of thumb is just that – ensure there is a thumb-width between the tip of the toe and the end of the shoe.
2. Good grip on the mid-foot and heel with little movement
The shoe must grip well at the heel so that it doesn’t move or flop when your child is walking around. Sit and observe them walking in the shoes during their fitting to see if they can easily get up, sit down and walk around. The mid foot also needs to fit well so that the shoes feel secure.
3. Correct width – for movement of toes
Children like to wiggle their toes so leave enough room at the front to ensure the toes can move. Otherwise blisters and ingrown toenails can occur. The shoe needs to be snug across the mid foot but not across the toes.
4. The top of the shoe does not rub against the ankle
Check to see how far the shoe comes up the ankle. The last thing you want is shoes that rub against little ankles and leave blisters or redness.
5. Wait until the end of the day for a fitting
Everyone’s feet are just a little larger at the end of the day. Children who have been romping about all day are no different. Go for a fitting at the end of the day when their feet are slightly expanded.
6. Check the left and right shoe fitting
Most people have one foot a little larger than the other. Children have growth spurts so the feet proportions may be different to the last fitting. Do the same checks for each foot, don’t assume fitting one foot will be the same as the other.
7. No break-in required
You might be able to get away with this as an adult but not as a child. Don’t buy shoes that need any sort of break-in such as stretching. They need to be comfortable from the outset. You can allow for a natural forming to develop especially with leather shoes, but generally makes sure the shoes fit properly when they first put them on.
Our podiatrists will help you fit your child’s shoes
Make an appointment to visit a Sanders Podiatry Clinic in Adelaide (Linden Park), Stirling or Mount Barker. Our family podiatrists will provide professional advice, especially if your child has conditions such as recurring ingrown toenails, any pain in their feet or flattening arches. We’ll help your little ones feel confident on their feet and in their shoes, so that they can get on with everyday adventures.
Related article: The 10 most common foot problems we treat in our podiatry clinics