So the time is nigh and back to school is round the corner. In the back-to-school rush, shops will be heaving with parents and children intent on buying new school uniforms and the dreaded new school shoes.
But did you know that many school children are wearing shoes that are too small and ill-fitting, which could drastically increase the risk of deformity and injury? So before you start to splash the cash on expensive school shoes, here’s our checklist for choosing the right shoes for your child.
How do you choose the best new school shoes?
- Avoid slip-on shoes. Choose shoes with laces, straps or Velcro fastenings, which act like a seatbelt in a car, holding the shoe onto the foot. Make sure they support the inner border of the foot and provide shock absorption.
- Ask if the assistant is a trained shoe fitter and, if not, is there one on the premises. Always have both feet measured for length and width. Shoes that are the wrong size can damage a growing foot.
- A newly fitted shoe should be approximately a finger’s width longer than the longest toe to allow for growth and elongation of the foot when walking.
- Trainers are foot-friendly as long as the feet are measured. However, many trainers are designed for particular sports and may not be suitable for everyday wear. Avoid the use of plimsolls in school all day, every day (Keep those babies for P.E.)
- Have your child’s feet measured in every shoe shop you visit as there are slight differences in sizing by different footwear manufacturers.
- Heel height should be no more than 4cm. Lower for younger children. The heel should have a broad base and be made from a shock-absorbing material.
- Natural material uppers such as leather are best. Check inside the shoe for seams or stitching that may cause irritation.
- The toe area of the shoe should be deep enough to allow the toes to move freely and not be squashed from the top or sides.
- The shoes should fit exactly around the heel without being tight or loose.
- The inner border of the shoe at the heel and arch area should be firm and support the foot.
It’s important to start looking after your kids’ feet as early as possible. It doesn’t take a lot of time or a lot of effort, but keeping your kids’ feet healthy now, will ensure they avoid foot problems later on.
If you are local to our clinics, we would recommend you visit The Little Shoe Company in Beeston, which specialises in professional fitting for footwear for kids.
How do you look after your children’s feet?
- Get them to go barefoot. Encouraging kids to walk around barefoot, wherever possible, is the best thing you can do for growing feet. It helps the muscles develop and get stronger and allows air to circulate around the entire foot.
- Wash their feet. Kids’ feet need to be washed and dried very well, every day, especially between the toes. It is very easy for kids to develop a fungal infection, like athlete’s foot, if their feet are constantly sweaty and moist.
- Keep their toenails trimmed. Always cut kids’ toenails in a straight line and never try to cut around the corners, as this can lead to ingrown toenails. Toenails that are too long can dig into other toes, or into the shoe, and cause a lot of discomfort.
- Choose the right socks. Socks that are too small can constrict feet and affect circulation. Socks should be made of at least 50% natural fibres, like wool or cotton, to allow the feet to breathe.
- Get the right shoe size. As soon as you suspect that your kids’ shoes are too small, don’t wait! Replace shoes that no longer fit straight away to avoid damaging your child’s feet.
- Inspect their shoes regularly for unusual wear and seek professional advice if you are concerned. Unusual wear may be the first indication that there is a problem with the foot, posture or general posture. This should always be investigated by your foot health professional. Normally, wear is across the back of the heel or between the back and the outside. You should look out for severe wear on the inside or outside of the heel. This may carry forward to the sole of the shoe. Also, the heel area of the upper may be broken and bulge inside or outside.
- Be aware that blisters and sores may develop with new shoes.
- Inspect children’s feet regularly for inflamed nails and red pressure marks on the top of the small joints of the toes, below the ankle bones and the back of the heel.
- Remember that teenagers, in particular, can be secretive about foot problems and a trivial, easily rectified problem can be more severe if neglected.
- If your children complain of itchy or painful sites or you see any rashes or hard raised areas on the skin seek professional advice immediately.
- Children have naturally sweaty feet but smelly feet may be an indication of poor hygiene.
- Before they start school book them into a foot health professional. They can get a check-over to make sure their feet are all good and there are no issues.
‘Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom’ – Oprah Winfrey
I have concerns about my child’s feet.
If you have any concerns about your children’s feet or you just want to have their feet checked by a foot health professional, you can book an appointment at one of our award-winning footcare clinics in the East Midlands. Our clinics are located in Beeston, Nottingham and Ilkeston, Derby.
Enjoy the school year …