Shoes for Children

Moms and dads so often worry about their children’s teeth, eyes, and most other regions of the body, but don’t get worried so much over the growing feet. As many adult foot conditions can have their beginnings when people are young, attention to shoes in children can minimize the risk of these issues in adults.

Significance of the footwear to the child:
Inadequately fitting children’s footwear can cause a number of conditions in adults such as hammer toes, ingrown toe nails, foot corns, calluses and deformed joints. Due to the high level of discomfort and pain that these conditions can cause, it is obviously sensible to attempt to prevent these disorders by ensuring that the child’s footwear is fitted appropriately. Foot conditions in kids are usually avoidable.

Fitting footwear for the child:
The most crucial factor in shoes for a kid is that they fit. Ideally, this means that shoes are fitted by somebody who has had some special training in the fitting of children’s footwear.

Tips for the fitting of children’s footwear:
* Children should have their feet measured around every three months (thus making sure the need for new footwear if required).
* Usually, for a shoe to be accurately fitted, there really should be a thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe.
* When looking at the bottom (sole) of the shoe, it should be fairly straight (not curved in too much) – the foot is straight, so the shoe needs to be straight.
* The attachment mechanism (laces, velcro, buckles) must hold the heel securely in the back of the shoe (the foot ought not to be able to slip forward in the footwear).
* the heel counter (back portion of the shoe) should be strong and stable.
* the shoe should be flexible along the ball of the foot, as this is where the foot flexes.
* Leather and canvas are a better material – they are stronger and can breathe. Man-made materials usually do not breathe as well, unless they are of the ‘open weave’ variety. Steer clear of plastics.
* Check that the footwear have curved toe boxes to give the toes more room to move and grow.
* Shoes should not need to be “broken in”. If they do, they can be either poorly developed or inadequately fitted.
* An absorbent insole is useful, as the feet can sweat a lot – kids are quite active!
* A number of retail stores concentrate on footwear for the child – make use of them!
* Fitting shoes adequately in adults is also just as important

3 tips for checking the child’s shoe:
There has to be a thumb width between the end of the footwear and the end of the longest toe = length is correct.
You ought to be able to pinch the upper of the footwear between the thumb and forefinger (this can depend on the nature of the material) = width is correct.
Does the footwear fit snugly around the heel and arch? How stable is the shoe when trying to ‘pull off’ the shoe? = great fit.

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