The annual back-to-school frenzy throws us lots of decision-making dilemmas, one of them being finding ‘school-suitable’ shoes. We can’t help make your mornings less hectic, but this we can help with! Read on to find out more about choosing the right shoe!

Why is ‘just a shoe’ so important?
On average, a child will spend 30-40 hrs a week in their school shoes – running, jumping, playing, and generally being a kid. That’s 1,200 – 1,600 hours a year! Bones in young children’s feet don’t fuse together until puberty so firm, supportive shoes are a must to protect their feet while they’re growing. Without this support, not only do they run the risk of tired and sore feet that keep them from enjoying themselves, they could also sustain long term injuries. Some of the most common issues seen by podiatrists from incorrect footwear include heel, ankle, foot and leg pain, tripping or falling, uneven wear on the shoes, skin/toenail irritation, and even back pain. In the longer-term, injuries like plantar fasciitis or shin splints can also occur.

Some tips for picking the right shoe
● First, you need to know the style of shoe you’re after and your budget. Once you know this, shoe shopping can begin.
● It’s important to distinguish between Runners and School shoes. Runners are designed for just that: running. When children start to move in all directions they can easily wear out and cause pain or damage. Most school shoes have a higher heel, which will do no good for their feet. Finding the balance between a runner and a school shoe is recommended while keeping the school dress code in mind.
● Avoid shoes that are too heavy or too light – too heavy and kids will be dragging their feet, while too light means there is little to no support. These lighter, flatter shoes can lead to plantar fasciitis later on.
● Shoes are personal! Shoes will ‘wear’ to the individual, so a hand-me-down pair isn’t necessarily going to work for the next child, and can damage the new owner’s feet.
● Children’s feet are constantly growing, so remember to keep an eye on the fit, and keep in mind that one pair of shoes may not last the whole school year.
● Do not fall into the trap that ‘they will grow into them’. The shoe needs to fit correctly from the start.
● Take socks with you when trying on shoes! Not only does this mean you can fit the shoe to the right pair of socks (yes, this makes a difference), but you can avoid using communal socks and spreading germs.

Correctly fitting the shoe
● There should be a thumb width between the end of the big toe and the end of the shoe
● The widest part of the foot should sit in the widest part of the shoe – seems obvious, but can sometimes be neglected
● The heel should be held firmly in place
● The sole should not twist
● Take a walk up and down the store, and make sure you do the final ‘wiggle’ room test

How to look after the shoe properly
Making sure shoes are kept in good condition will not only mean they last longer, but injury risk is reduced. Make sure the laces are undone before taking the shoe off, air them out and keep them dry. Remember, no lazy slipping into the shoe – this will damage the heel support and cause future pain!

How can a podiatrist appointment help
Here at ProMed Podiatry, we provide an in-depth children’s foot assessment. This looks at their biomechanical movement with walking and pinpoints any areas where there may be issues. This will help determine the type of shoe your child needs. Once any biomechanical issues have been addressed, finding the perfect school shoe will be a walk in the park!

If you need help with your children’s footwear selection get in touch with us today to simplify the back to school shoe process! Give our friendly team a call on (07) 5522 1230 or book an appointment online today.

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