Simple tips for children's shoe shopping

As parents and children begin the back to school shopping ritual that includes fashionable shoes, the Ontario Society of Chiropodists (OSC) stresses that fit is more important than looks. Well-fitting shoes reduce the incidence of foot and ankle injuries and encourages physical activity, helping to increase self esteem through sport. Increased physical activity helps to decrease childhood obesity which can be a precursor to more chronic diseases such as diabetes. 

Chiropodists report that if children's feet hurt, they will be far less likely to participate in outdoor sports and other activities that keep them physically fit. With childhood obesity considered an epidemic today and with the rising rate of diabetes, it is vital that parents take the time to select a shoe that provides adequate support and fits properly. It is one of the easiest ways to keep your child pain-free, healthy and active. 

J. Craig Hunt D.Ch., Past President of the College of Chiropodists of Ontario (which regulates chiropodists and podiatrists) says a few simple tips can ensure a good fit.

  • Check the heel support by squeezing the shoe's heel to make sure it does not collapse
  • Grab the front of the shoe (toe box) and make sure the shoe bends where the child's toes would normally bend in the shoe
  • Grab the shoe at both ends and gently twist it. Shoes should never twist in the middle, and should be rigid. If the shoe fails any of these three steps, don't buy them.
  • Never wear hand me down shoes. Sharing shoes can spread and encourage the growth of fungus and bacteria such as athletes foot, and result in plantar's warts.  Shoes fit every child differently.
  • Have a child's foot professionally measured regularly. Most shoe stores or your chiropodist will be happy to professionally measure a child's foot to ensure proper fit. Measure the foot for proper length, width and depth to prevent irritation and injury. Fit the shoe to the longest foot.
  • Your child's shoes should be comfortable to wear immediately and should not require a break-in period.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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