Help Me Buy Children’s Shoes
Quick points to assist parents:
It is important to have the proper shoe as a child’s foot develops.
A physical therapist may be needed to evaluate for orthotics.
Parents often lament the high cost of children’s shoes. If you think about it, though, your kids walk and run hundreds of miles every few months on growing feet. So consider spending a bit more for quality running shoes, rather than thin-soled canvas ones. The same workmanship that goes into adults’ athletic shoes goes into children’s sizes, offering solid support, cushioning, and long wear. Follow the same guidelines for choosing children’s athletic shoes as for an adult. Children need good cushioning, support, and protection, and shoes should not squeeze their growing feet. It’s OK to allow some growing room, but the heel should not slip up and down, and the forefoot should not move side to side in the shoe. If you buy shoes with Velcro closures, get the best quality shoes available so that stability is not compromised. When buying dress shoes for boys or girls, consider that they may do lots of running around in them. A dress shoe with a rubber sole might be a good option. The key is to avoid shoes that have rigid soles.
Babies who haven’t started walking don’t need shoes–just socks and slippers for warmth. High-topped shoes give a sense of stability when kids first start walking, but toddlers generally don’t need to wear shoes in a safe environment like inside the home. In fact, they receive more feedback and have better balance when they are barefoot. When it’s time to buy shoes, remember that new shoes are best: Individualized wear patterns in hand-me-down shoes can place undue stress on a child’s feet. (1) Also, look for shoes with a rubber shoe with traction to prevent slipping. Crocs are also a good option.(See Are Crocs Good for Your Feet?)
Flat feet are common and expected in young children. However, after walking and standing for several months to a year, an arch should begin to develop. If your child is standing barefoot and the outside edge of their foot comes off the ground, you might consider checking with your doctor about the possibility of needing some extra support from an orthotic.
The days of spending $500 for orthotics are over for most children. AthletePlus has orthotics available by calling 751-8437.
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