The importance of ensuring your child's school shoes fit correctly is one that definitely can't be ignored - especially considering they are worn over 30 hours per week!
The wrong shoes on growing feet can lead to numerous health problems, including lower back conditions and postural issues, not to mention discomfort when playing school sports or just hanging around the school yard.
According to the Australasian Podiatry Council the ideal school shoe should:
Never bend in the middle
Be able to bend at the toe
Not be able to twist or ‘ring out’
Not be able to push in the heel cup
Going to a children’s specific shoe shop can be worth its weight in gold. These people know baby, toddler and children’s shoes inside and out. Before you go, we've put together some helpful hints on fitting your child's shoes.
1. Measure your child's feet
There is always a temptation to rush the process of school shoe purchasing. Invariably the shop is busy and the kids are tired and cranky! However it is important that the time is taken to measure your child’s feet. Ensure that both feet are measured. Like adults, kids may have one foot bigger than the other.
The width measurement is also important and many school shoes come in a variety of widths.
There is temptation to purchase shoes a size bigger than necessary to extend the wear, however this can lead to your child rolling their foot or other injuries during play. Ensure there is thumbnail space between the end of the shoe and the longest toe. Check that the toes can move freely and that the widest part of the foot corresponds with the widest part of the shoe. Also check that the heel remains in position when walking.
Velcro fasteners can be more convenient, however laces tend to hold the foot more snugly in position.
2. Selecting the right kids school shoe
It is often tempting to select a kids shoe based on appearance alone, however often the shoe most desired won’t give the best fit. Discuss with the shoe fitter which style will work best for your child based on their individual foot issues (width, how much support required, need to accommodate orthotics etc).
It can be useful to take old shoes along to the shop to show the shoe fitter how old shoes have worn.
3. Invest in quality kids shoes
Given the amount of time kids spend in their school shoes it is worth investing in quality made shoes.
Look for outsoles made of rubber and sturdy leather stitching rather than gluing. It is also worthwhile to have reinforced toes if the kids have a tendencyto kick stones. Always check out the heel and the midsole to ensure that they are firm and that the child’s foot can sit down snugly in the shoe.
If your child has orthotics, then an extra eyelet can ensure that the shoes can be laced extra firmly.
Having your child's feet measured regularly, regardless of the wear on their shoes, is a great way to ensure the correct fit. Seek out a children’s shoe fitting specialist and send your kids to school knowing that their school shoes will be comfortable.