It's back-to-school time - and that means children's shoe shops and department stores will soon be filled with kids and parents purchasing a new - or perhaps their first - pair of school shoes for the year.
"Young feet change term-by-term," says podiatrist Leigh Birchley. "It's a really important time after the long summer break to remeasure feet and purchase correct fitting day and sports shoes."
“This is also a good time to ask your kids about their feet and how they feel, to see if there are any underlying problems,” Leigh advises.
“Parents should also consider what activities their children will be undertaking and in what kind of footwear. If it’s a particular sport the right sports shoe should be selected for that sport.
“There is no single best shoe for one child as all children are different. The fit can be affected by their height, weight, shape, biomechanics and stage of growth development, so choosing the correct shoe is imperative.
“If there are hereditary foot problems in the family it’s also worth having your child’s growth progress checked periodically or at least have them properly measured by going to a shoe supplier that provides professional measuring services."
Leigh says there are three main types of feet: normal, flat and high-arched.
- A person with normal feet needs a stable shoe with moderate control features;
- A flat-footed person should have motion control shoes or high stability shoes with a firm midsole and control features that reduce the degree of pronation;
- The high-arched foot needs cushioned or neutral shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion.
“Fashion should also stay out of the agenda as young girls should not be wearing high heels until they are older. Wearing high heels in the early development stages of your child’s feet is not advisable.
“Handing down shoes should also be avoided if possible. An old shoe belonging to someone else will take on their shape and gait, which will not be the same for the new wearer even if they are siblings. Buying a new shoe is best."
Tips for purchasing shoes at any age:
- Choose a store that measures your feet to ensure best fit;
- Buy shoes in the afternoon as the foot will be larger at this time;
- Always walk around in the shoes before purchasing, checking for comfort and tight spots;
- When standing you should be able to wriggle your toes;
- Ensure the sole of the shoe is firm and bends across the ball of the foot;
- The material breathes and is flexible – leather is the best for this.