A survey completed by the College of Podiatry highlighted that up to 29% of British children could be wearing shoes which are completely the wrong size. This could potentially cause blisters, bruises, and ingrowing toenails.
Most children learn to walk at around the time of their first birthday. As your child begins to walk, shoes are an important factor to consider. A growing child will often need new shoes frequently.
Nearly 1 in 6 parents (15 per cent) confess that they don’t like shoe shopping for their children because their kids don’t want to wear what their parents would like them to wear.
1 in 20 (5 per cent) said they couldn’t get their child to stay still long enough for a shoe fitting.
How does the shoe fit?
How is the shoe made?
Is the type of shoe appropriate for your child’s age?
Remember, shoes should be comfortable from the start. If new shoes need to be “broken in”, it means either they were not properly designed or not properly fitted for your child’s foot.
Close attention should be payed to the shoe’s length, width and depth when fitting your child’s shoe. Space is needed at the end for movement of the foot in the shoe.
70% of children wear shoes with D and E widths. Most boys wear E width and most girls wear D width. A lace-fastened shoe can accommodate most widths.
Children’s feet grow in spurts and they may require new shoes every 3 to 4 months.
Most early toddlers (under 16 months of age) grow more than half a foot size in 2 months. This then slows as from age 16 to 24 months the feet can grow an average a half a foot size every 3 months. Then 24 to 36 months old, grows approximately one-half a foot size every 4 months, and children over three years of age experience increases of one-half a foot size every 4 to 6 months.
The depth of the shoe should be checked to make sure the top of the shoe doesn’t press on the toes or the toenails. Use your finger to feel and look at the shape of the shoes and your child’s foot to see if it looks it would fit. Is there space for them to wiggle their toes. Shoes with a rounded toe box give the toes more room for movement.
Children’s feet do sweat so a breathable or natural material is recommended including leather, canvas or mesh. Man-made materials such as plastic should be avoided.
Make sure the insole is made of absorbent material. Most children do not need a special arch support. All toddlers younger than 16 months have flat feet and only fully develop an arch by the age of 6 to 8 years.
The outer sole provides traction, cushioning, and flexibility to the shoe. Some very sticky and thick outer soles can make young children clumsy, causing falls and should be avoided.
This should be firm to help support the foot.
Flat outer soles make it easier to begin walking. Older children can wear shoes with heels, but they should not be too high (bigger than one inch) as this can cause the foot to slide forward, cramping the toes against the shoe.
Further findings from the College of Podiatry’s survey revealed 22% of parents reported pressure from their daughters to buy fashionable shoes such as ballet pumps, flip-flops and even high heels. following this it highlighted concerningly, one in ten young girls are wearing shoes with a heel of 2cm or higher and, on average, young British girls are wearing these types of shoes as young as six years.
Check for wear regularly inside the shoe as well as the sole and replace accordingly.
Certain types of shoes are appropriate for your child’s age. Babies and crawlers do not need shoes. They only need booties; warm, wide socks to keep their feet warm; or pre-walking shoes that do not bind their feet. The shoes should be flexible rather than providing a rigid support and it’s very important that the shoe is shaped like the child’s foot.
Your child can go barefoot in a protected environment, such as, indoors.
Shoes for toddlers, aged 9 months to 3 years, should allow the foot to breathe since their feet perspire a great deal. Avoid synthetic materials that don’t breathe.
For children 9 to 18 months, a high-top shoe is a good option this will stay on the foot better than a standard height shoe. A shoe with a lace-up is more secure as it can be adjusted and will hold the foot still in the shoe. The sole of the shoe should be smooth like the palm of your hand.
A smooth sole means less friction so the shoe won’t grab the floor, possibly causing your child to fall. Choose a light-weight shoe, since children use a lot of energy walking at this age. Toddlers, too, can go barefoot in a protected environment such as indoors.
School-Age Children’s Shoes
Style and shoe-fit are important for school-age children. At this age, they can choose from a variety of options, including athletic shoes, sandals, hiking shoes, etc.
During the first several years, your child’s foot continues to take shape. At this time, problems, such as a flat foot or high arch may become noticeable, but usually, no specific treatment is necessary. If severe, these problems may be symptoms of other, more serious conditions and your child may need a podiatrist’s examination and diagnosis.
Remember, shoes should be comfortable from the start. If new shoes need to be “broken in,” it means either they were not properly designed or not properly fitted for your child’s foot.