Finding a good pair of shoes can be difficult for children as they are in a constant state of growth. It is much easier to find a suitable pair of shoes for adults as their feet will remain the same size and are unlikely to change drastically without the onset of a disease or accident. Moreover, children often do not know how to assess their shoes and it can be frustrating for parents to determine if their child’s shoes are fitting correctly. Finding proper footwear is crucial as the child is still developing.
When choosing proper footwear for your children, do not give in to their demands for shoes that are colourful or have popular designs. The designs meant to appeal to them and serve no purpose in providing optimal support for your children.
Most children begin walking between 10-12 months of age. This is when they are trying to train their proprioception and their balance. A pair of soft flexible shoes serves as an ideal protective barrier when they are moving around while also engaging and developing their foot and leg muscles. As the child is learning to walk, falls are common around this age. The soft rubber soles are less slippery and help reduce the chance of falling.
At about 2-3 years of age, most children will spend much time walking, jumping and running. Hence, a sturdy pair of shoes will be ideal. Shoes such as sneakers with laces or canvas shoes with Velcro straps are highly suitable as you can adjust the shoes for a better fit while preventing them from coming loose easily. The toe box of the shoes should be flexible to allow normal development of the forefoot and an adult gait. The features of the shoe design should be the most important criteria when shopping for a new pair of shoes. The price of a shoe does not indicate its quality or function and you should not assume that an expensive pair of shoes will be of higher quality or greater function.
While it may be tempting to recycle shoes that your child or others have outgrown, you should be cautious for several reasons. The shoes may be in a poor condition and worn out shoes can affect the development of your child’s growing feet due to the reduced support or increased wear. In addition, there is a variety of contagious conditions for the feet, including viruses that cause plantar warts or fungus that lead to fungal infections on the skin or nails.
Here are some points and tips to get a proper shoe for your child:
- Look for experienced and knowledgeable sale assistants who can properly measure your child’s feet
- There should be about 1cm (1 finger spacing) from the tip of the toes to the front of the shoes
- Ensure that the width is a correct fit as children’s feet tend to be wider
- There should not be excess space at the back of the shoe at the heel area, your child’s heels will tend to slip out if there is too much space
- Ensure your child always wear socks with shoes, you can bring the socks while shopping for new shoes to ensure a correct fit
- Have your child walk around in the new shoes and make sure they are comfortable and well-fitting before buying
- Have your child’s feet reassessed every 2-4 months at a children’s foot clinic to ensure that the shoes are still a good fit