Imagine how uncomfortable you feel when walking around in a bad pair of shoes. Not only do your feet hurt, but it’s hard to stay engaged in your activities when you’re scowling in pain. Now think of how children must feel when they’re forced to play, study and interact with other kids while wearing shoes that aren’t ideal.
That’s why back-to-school shoe shopping is just as important as buying stationary and educational supplies. Children’s feet change rapidly, so you may feel like you’re buying new shoes all the time. But high-quality shoes are well worth the investment since they can have a tremendous impact on the way that kids walk, run and play.
So check out our tips on finding footwear that’s not only comfortable but also live up to your child’s picky standards!
#1: Always buy new
To accommodate quickly-growing feet, it may seem more economical to buy used shoes. But even though sizing is standard, a shoe that fits one child comfortably may not fit another so well. Footwear that’s been worn for a while will also conform to the individual’s feet. So when you buy a used pair, you’re purchasing something that’s no longer in its original shape.
Also, sharing shoes, even amongst siblings, can spread foot fungi. Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. Signs include a scaly rash that causes itching, burning and stinging. Investing in new shoes each season can help your child avoid painful infections.
#2: Go shopping together
A fussy or screaming child in a shopping mall is a nightmare for any parent. But going together will spare you a lot of unnecessary guesswork. This will also let your son or daughter give you their personal opinion. Not only can they tell you whether a pair is comfortable, but also let you know if it’s up to their stylistic tastes.
#3: Test the shoe first
Before letting your child try things on, gauge the quality of a shoe’s heel by pressing on both sides at the same time. It should never collapse under pressure. Also, try bending the shoe to ensure it’ll bend with your child’s toes. Footwear that’s too stiff can cause pain, especially when running. However, shoes should always be rigid across the middle. So make sure it doesn’t twist in this particular area.
#4: Shop later in the day
Feet tend to be smaller in the morning, then slowly swell as the day goes on. Shop for shoes later in the day to ensure your child’s feet are at their largest. They can also be slightly different sizes, so always buy for the bigger foot. When going shopping, your child should be wearing the socks they’ll likely wear with that shoe.
#5: Avoid footwear that requires ‘breaking in’
Your child will recognize good shoes right away since they should feel good from the get-go. Never buy footwear in the hopes that they’ll get comfortable after a ‘breaking in’ period. Low-quality shoes are made with stiff materials that will never soften up over time. Even if the shoes do ‘break-in’, they may not be in the most ideal places. Ask your child if the shoes feel great off the bat. If the answer is ‘no’, avoid them altogether.
#6: Keep an eye on the shoe
Get into the habit of regularly examining your child’s footwear. Kids tend to wear out shoes much faster than adults. Check for damaged heels or skidded toes. And keep an eye on your child’s behaviour. If they’re constantly taking their shoes off or trying to avoid that particular pair entirely, it could be a sign of severe discomfort.
#7: Seek professional care if foot conditions appear
Corns, bunions and swollen feet aren’t just conditions you see in adults -- many children can experience foot problems, too. Because the feet are the body’s foundation, it’s incredibly important to address issues immediately...no matter how minor they may seem.
If your child is experiencing foot discomfort, visit us at Physiomed. Our teams are highly experienced in providing foot care for children. Our chiropodists, chiropractors and physiotherapists can conduct a thorough assessment and provide corrective stretches and exercises to reduce pain and increase strength and range of motion. We also offer custom orthotics to address common conditions such as fallen arches and plantar fasciitis. These devices are specially designed to conform to the unique shape of your child’s feet and will provide the support their growing bodies need.
Don’t let foot problems get in the way of your child’s health. Rely on Physiomed to keep your young ones happy, active and full of life!
For more information on foot problems in children or to book an assessment, contact us here.