Your children’s feet will spend most of their growth period in school shoes. This is why it is so important to seek out sound advice on the correct fitting of school shoes and socks. Whether your child is standing, sitting, walking, running, jumping or skipping; their feet are always on the move.
How do you pick the right school shoe for your child?
All shoes should protect your children’s feet – but particularly school shoes, since children spend so much time in them. To ensure their shoes fit properly, make sure you have your children’s feet measured regularly for length and width; so the shoe fits the natural shape of their foot, especially around the toes.
A podiatrist is well placed to carry out this task. Specifically, the toe of the shoe should allow your child’s toes to move freely and not be squashed from the top or the sides. Make sure there is about 1cm growing room between the end of their longest toe and the top end of their shoe when they are standing. If it is hard to feel there toes through the shoe you can pull the insole out and see where their feet are sitting on that. Also bear in mind that shoes should fit comfortably around the heel, and not be too loose or too tight.
Having shoes fitted by a store that offers trained assistants can also help ensure the correct size and shape to keep little feet running and jumping. For kids wearing school shoes for the first time they may take a bit of time to get used to but they should generally feel comfortable straight away. Wearing them at home for short periods on the holidays is a good way for them to wear them in.
It is good to get in the habit of checking their shoes still fit a couple of weeks before school goes back in-case they have had a growth spurt, or the shoes are worn out. This will give you time to purchase new shoes.
When should you seek advice from a podiatrist?
A podiatrist can help ensure your child’s school shoes fit correctly. A check-up with a podiatrist is also recommended if you notice changes, such as uneven shoe wear on the heels; or if pain is reported such as skin rashes, hard skin, lumps, bumps or itching on your child’s feet. A podiatrist can also help your child if they complain of recurrent pain in their feet or legs, especially as activities increase at school; or if your child is constantly tripping or falling at school – or outside of school. You should also consider the help of a podiatrist if you notice your child walks on their tip toes, or their walk does not look symmetrical (the same on both feet and legs); or if you have any other general concerns about your child’s foot health.
Sarah Youngson (Podiatrist)
Reference: The Australian Podiatry Association