In January, it’s a collective ritual to make that all-important trip to the shops to get fitted for new school shoes. The importance of course, is to ensure a well fitted shoe to kick off the year, something that has no doubt been done from generation to generation.
Did you know at birth, it is predicted that our feet are 1/3 of their adult size. They will then keep growing and growing until around 15 (years of age) for females and 16 for males. It is during this time that the foot not only grows but takes shape for the future. While genetics play a significant role in the innate structure and function of the foot, environmental factors such as poor footwear, can cause lifelong changes to the foot including hammer toes and bunions.
Barefoot vs Shoes
The research shows that kids should spend ample time barefoot (not thongs or slip ons) in a safe environment to help develop foot strength, arch height, proprioception, and balance.
However, when a shoe is required to be worn at school or in playgrounds, playdates and sport, wearing the right shoes is imperative. With our school-aged kids spending more than 15,500 hours in their school shoes, it’s more important than ever to wear a shoe that prevents toe gripping, instability, tripping, discomfort, foot constriction and early-onset fatigue.
The requirements of the right shoe will change depending on your child’s age, development, and activities. For this reason, visiting a specialist shoe store such as Shoes & Sox will ensure you have assistance in choosing the best shoe and ensuring an appropriate fit for your child.
Fundamental rules for choosing the right kids shoes
Whilst the fit experts aka ‘The Fit Squad’ at Shoes & Sox will be best to measure and advise on your child’s unique feet, there are a few simple rules to help guide you.
- ¾ to a full thumbs’ width between the end of the shoe and the longest toe for room to grow
- The shoe should hold itself on the foot so there is no need for the toes to grip (reserve backless shoes i.e. thongs for the pool and beach only)
- No slipping at the heel
- No excessive space in the shoe where the foot is insecure
- No bulging of the foot within the shoe indicating a lack of space
- Choose lightweight and well-structured where possible
At Shoes & Sox they also 100% guarantee the perfect fit, so you can always be sure your kids are wearing the right size shoes.
Signs of poor fitting kids shoes
Younger kids won’t always be able to articulate their sensations and experiences, which is why they usually default to telling you they have a sore tummy when they are sick. But when it comes to their feet there are a few common indications that something may not be right with the shoes they are wearing.
- Complaining of sore legs, knees, ankles or feet
- Tripping or clumsiness
- Curled toes
- Rolling of ankles and ankle injuries
- Redness or imprint of footwear / socks on the foot
- Ingrown and bruising of the toenails
- ‘Growing’ pains and sore heels
- Blisters and hot spots
- Needing to pull the laces / fastening mechanism really right
- A sloppy or tight fit
- Excessive wear and tear on the shoe
When should my child see a podiatrist?
If your child is experiencing lower limb pain, you’re concerned with their walking, running or foot development or they are unable to physically keep up with their peers, then visiting a podiatrist is recommended. They will be best to advise if there is anything else going on or if they need any additional support.
Remember, our feet are our bodies sole mode of transport and will need to last a lifetime. So it is imperative that shoes fit appropriately, are comfortable and can facilitate normal foot development in those early years.