Children's Shoes - Essentials for Your Child
Child shoes... with so many children's shoes out there, exactly what should parents buy? Should we only put our children in brand name shoes?
These are the commonly asked questions coming from concerned parents when looking to purchase their child shoes. In essence the brand of shoe is irrelevant. By keeping a few points in mind, shoes can be found that will not only be appropriate and supportive for your child, but also cost effective.
Here are just a few things to keep in mind when purchasing your child shoes. If you have any concerns regarding shoe suitability, then consult you Podiatrist:
- The most important factor for children’s shoes is that they fit properly.
This means always having them fitted professionally by someone trained in fitting child shoes.
Children should also be measured for shoes every three months or so. This does not necessarily mean they need new shoes, but if they are measured every three months we can be assured that the current shoes are still fitting correctly. A correctly fitted shoe should have a thumb space clearance at the end of the longest toe, and should not compress either side of the foot at any point, especially not the front of the foot.
- The last (sole) of your child's shoe should be relatively straight. The sole of the shoe should appear straight, not curving towards the inside of the shoe. This is because a child's foot is very straight and does not often curve towards the inside as with many adults.
- Laces, buckles and velcro fasteners help to keep the foot back in the heel of the shoe.
This allows the forefoot to function properly and efficiently and also reduces forward pressure onto the toes. If purchasing sandals look for two adjusting straps, one across the forefoot and one to secure the rear of the foot back in the shoe.
- Childrens shoes should bend only at the ball of the foot where the toes bend and not through the arch.
- The heel counter should be firm and feel snug as this helps to keep the heel stable.
- Leather uppers are preferred for its durability and its ability to breathe.
When purchasing your child shoes, avoid synthetic man made materials unless the upper is an open weave fabric.
- Soft, cushioning non-slip soles are preferred.
This helps to decrease jarring through the foot, leg and spine. Avoid hard sole materials (eg. leather soles).
- Torsional twisting motion should be minimal.
Only a small amount of twisting motion should be available in a stable shoe.
- A shoe with a low heel is preferable.
Increased heel height, ultimately affects the entire body as there is an increase in load and force placed on the forefoot. This causes the body's centre of gravity to shift forward, calf muscles shorten, muscles and ligaments fatigue as they are forced to work overtime to keep you balanced. This leads to an increase of stress placed on the lower back and thus body posture is affected. A heel height of less then one inch or 25mm is appropriate.
- The heel base of a shoe needs to be broad.
The smaller and narrower the heel base is, the less contact your child has with the ground thereby affecting your child's stability.
WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist, your Doctor or your foot specialist.