You know summer is nearly over when it’s time to buy new shoes for the new school year. At Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS, we know that well-made, properly-fitting shoes are one of the best gifts you can give your children to protect the health of their feet. Below are some tips to take to the shoe store:
- It’s a good idea to start with a checkup with our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, especially if your child has had a foot injury or disorder in the past. The foot doctor will monitor any chronic conditions and can make recommendations about shoe designs that will be best for your child’s feet if there is an ongoing issue such as flat feet or in-toeing.
- Get both feet professionally measured. Your child should be standing and bearing full weight for the most accurate measurement. It is not uncommon for one foot to be slightly bigger than the other. You should always buy shoes to accommodate the bigger of the two feet.
- Young children’s feet can grow up to two sizes in as little as six months so be sure the toe box is roomy and that all the toes can wiggle freely. A thumb’s width between the longest toe and the front of the shoe is a good guideline. Shoes that squeeze the toes together can encourage ingrown toenails and biomechanical difficulties.
- Check the construction of the shoe. It should have sufficient cushioning on the sole to provide good shock absorption as your child runs and plays. The heel counter should be firm and there should be good arch support. The shoe should be flexible enough to bend at the point where your foot bends at the ball of the foot.
- Laces provide better support and stability than slip-on or Velcro shoes.
- Have your child try on both shoes and walk around the store for several minutes. After they take the shoes off, check feet for any red marks that may indicate excessive pressure or tightness.
- Examine the inside of the shoes with your hands to make sure there are no staples, rough spots or prominent stitching that could irritate the foot.