The Importance of Footwear in Children

We are all aware of the rate at which children grow and the continuous changes in size and shape, so it can be difficult to consistently buy the correct footwear every time when shopping, even more so when children participate in sport, forever shredding and wearing down the materials on trainers!

Generally, when buying kids shoes there is a habitual process of:

  • choosing a shoe type
  • trying it on & looking in the mirror 
  • walking up and down the store 
  • touching the top of the shoe to make sure the big toe is not protruding into the top of the shoe

However, there is more to shoe buying than threading the holes and knotting the laces!

Two important considerations when buying footwear are :

  1. Style (is it fit for purpose?)
  2. correct fitting.

So, what counts as appropriate footwear is  just what is most comfortable? Podiatrists would disagree.

As podiatrists, we aim to encourage most of our patients into trainer style footwear quite simply because they support the foot at each part.

Children are no different!

Things to check for are:

  • Cushioned heel for shock absorption
  • Raised arch to support the mid-foot structure
  • Widened toe box to prevent compression and trauma.
  • Straps or Laces  (slip-on shoes or trainers are often popular but it should be remembered that the foot must work harder to keep the shoe in place)

As young, fit, and healthy children run around the school ground, it is a shoe with all of the above qualities that best provides the movement and support to do so. Most shops will offer a style of shoe with the above desires already mentioned.

Then, there is the actual fitting of a shoe. Does professional fitting really matter? Clinical investigations would say yes! A study of 858 children found that around 60% of the children’s footwear in a school was too small leading to lateral deviation of the big toe. This is a predisposing factor to something commonly known as a bunion! 

Recent studies also highlight the issue, claiming that a large proportion of children had footwear too narrow in nature, causing foot deformities, furthermore, stressing the importance of correct shoe fitting.

Some tips for shoe purchasing in children include: 

  • Have feet measured
  • Buy slightly larger to allow room from growth
  • Make sure footwear is wide enough not solely focusing on the length
  • Buy footwear in the afternoon allowing for expansion of the foot from morning activities 
  • Focus on materials such as. water-resistance and breathable qualities

    Once you have found the perfect shoe and fit remember to check the shoes regularly for any signs of wear and tear, hopefully before there are signs on the feet!  For more information check out this article by our Clinical Director, Karen Randell

Read for more information:

Chris Park Podiatrist, Randell’s Footcare

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