Do you want to keep an eye on your children’s feet and ensure their school shoes fit correctly? Learn how to support growing feet – at school and beyond.
Your children’s feet will spend most of their growth period in school shoes. For most kids, it’s 6-8 hours/day, 5 days/week. Most adults don’t spend that long in one pair of shoes! This is why it is so important to seek out sound advice on the correct fitting of school shoes. Whether your child is standing, sitting, walking, running, jumping or skipping; their feet are always on the move. Purchasing shoes that support your child’s feet is usually at the top of the ‘back to school’ shopping list.
How do you pick the right school shoe for your child?
All shoes should protect your children’s feet – but particularly school shoes, since children spend so much time in them. To ensure their shoes fit properly, make sure you have your children’s feet measured regularly for length and width; so the shoe fits the natural shape of their foot, especially around the toes.
Specifically, the toe of the shoe should allow your child’s toes to move freely and not be squashed from the top or the sides. Make sure there is about 1cm growing room between the end of their longest toe (hit can often be the second toe – not the big toe) and the top end of their shoe. Also bear in mind that shoes should fit comfortably around the heel, and not be too loose or too tight. Generally speaking, you want the shoe to be a nice snug fit around the heel and arch, with room for the forefoot and toes.
Having shoes fitted by a store that offers trained assistants can also help ensure the correct size and shape to keep little feet running and jumping.
Although they can be the fashionable choice, also try to avoid shoes with a higher heel. Look at the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot (often referred to as the pitch). For most kids, the ideal pitch is 10-15mm. Completely flat shoes and high heel shoes can place increased forces on the ball of the foot, heel and calf muscles which can lead to problems, particularly when kids are growing.
When should you seek advice from a podiatrist?
A podiatrist can help ensure your child’s school shoes fit correctly. A check-up with a podiatrist is also recommended if you notice changes, such as uneven shoe wear on the heels; or if pain is reported or if there are changes on the skin such as rashes, hard skin, lumps, bumps or itching on your child’s feet. A podiatrist can also help your child if they complain of recurrent pain in their feet or legs, especially as activities increase at school; or if your child is constantly tripping or falling at school – or outside of school.
You should also consider the help of a podiatrist if you notice your child walks on their tip toes, or their walk does not look symmetrical (the same on both feet and legs); or if you have any other general concerns about your child’s foot health.