Shoe Shopping for your Kids
Back to school shopping is in full swing, and on the list of things to buy to get your kids started on the right foot this school year are…..shoes! Although there may seem to be an endless amount of choices in regards to what your kids can wear on their feet, there are several things to watch out for when selecting a pair of quality, comfortable shoes your kids enjoy wearing.
• ABC, easy as 1,2,3…there are 3 things to look for when buying a shoe for your child. First, squeeze the heel of the shoe to make sure that it does not collapse. A stiff heel provides proper rear foot support. Second, grab the front of the shoe and bend it backwards to ensure that the shoe bends where your child’s foot naturally flexes while walking or running. Third, grab the shoe at both ends and twist it in opposite directions. The middle of the shoe should not twist in order to provide good midfoot support. A shoe should pass all 3 of these tests to be proven worthy of buying.
• APMA’s Seal of Acceptance is a gold standard. The American Podiatric Medical Association has given their Seal of Acceptance to products that promote proper foot health. These shoes have been tested by foot and ankle doctors who understand the complex nature of how the foot works while in motion. You can check out the APMA’s list of products on their website or look for the seal on the manufacturer’s product packaging or website.
• Avoid hand me downs. Passing down old footwear from an older sibling can spread fungus such as athlete’s foot. Also, every person’s gait is unique, and over time, the shoe develops wear patterns specific to that person that may cause harm to another person wearing them. Always take your child with you when you are buying shoes for them to ensure a proper fit in both length and width. (Yes, some shoe companies make wide shoes for children!)
• Breaking in shoes is a myth. Shoes should be comfortable the first time your child tries them on in the store. Any sign of discomfort noticed in the store is an indicator that the shoes will continue to give them problems in the future.
• Use shoe size as a guide. Your children’s feet should be measured each time you are buying them a new pair of shoes. Most retail sales associates can help you determine the right size of shoe for your child. However, just because your child measures a 7, does not necessarily mean he or she must wear a size 7 shoe. The shoe must past the 1,2,3 test mentioned above and the length and width must also feel comfortable to the child. Buying a slightly larger shoe is okay in most cases and preferable to buying a shoe that will too small in short order.
• Have your child’s feet checked regularly. Taking your child to see a podiatrist can help prevent foot problems that may occur later on in life. Podiatrists can analyze the way your child walks and stands, as well as look at his or her shoes for certain wear patterns, to prescribe therapies to promote proper foot health for a lifetime.