Even though it is mid-July, we have started seeing back to school signs and products in the stores. We still have about a month left of summer break, but with all the sales going on already it is a good time to do some back to school shoe shopping to get the best variety of choices, styles, and sizes. As a parent or guardian, finding the perfect shoes for your child can be quite a task. Children’s feet are constantly growing and developing, making it essential to choose shoes that provide proper support and comfort. To help you navigate the world of shoe shopping for children, we have compiled a comprehensive guide with tips and tricks to ensure your little one’s feet are happy and healthy.

Replace Old Shoes

New shoes provide more stability and comfort than shoes that have been heavily used. Worn-out shoes can increase the risk of heel pain, tendonitis, and even sprains or fractures. Check to ensure the toe flexes easily and the shoe doesn’t bend in the middle. Notice the traction on the bottom and any signs of wear in the heel. If your child’s shoes have been worn for an extended period of time or are showing signs of wear, it is time to go shoe shopping!

Get the Right Fit 

Proper fit is paramount when it comes to children’s shoes. Ensure you measure your child’s feet regularly, as their size can change quickly. Remember that each foot can be slightly different in size, so measure both feet and choose the larger size. The best fit is about a finger’s width from the end of the shoe to the tip of the big toe. A child’s foot can grow up to two sizes in 6 months so allow for some growing room to accommodate their developing feet. However, never buy shoes that are too large – this can cause the foot to slide around and put more pressure on the toes.

Consider Foot Shape and Arch when Shopping for Shoes

Pay attention to your child’s foot shape and arch type when selecting shoes. Some children have high arches, while others have flat feet. Children with flat feet need shoes with a wide toe box and good arch support. Opt for shoes that offer appropriate arch support, cushioning, and stability to match their specific foot type. Foot problems can happen rapidly if the foot is not supported properly for the various activities kids do throughout the day. Consult with your Podiatrist or shoe fitting specialist if you’re unsure about your child’s foot characteristics.

Prioritize Comfort and Choose Quality Materials 

Children are active and constantly on the move. Look for shoes that prioritize comfort. Flexible soles and padded insoles can enhance comfort and prevent blisters. Also, opt for shoes with a roomy toe box to allow natural movement of the toes. Children’s shoes should be made from high-quality materials to ensure durability and breathability. Look for shoes with leather or mesh uppers, as they provide better ventilation and allow the feet to breathe. Reinforced stitching and sturdy outsoles will help the shoes withstand the rough and tumble of active play.

Allow Your Child to Participate in Shoe Shopping

Involve your child in the shoe shopping process. Take them along and let them try on different styles. Their input can be valuable in finding shoes that they feel comfortable and confident in. Encourage them to walk around in the shoes to test for fit and comfort. Feet tend to swell throughout the day, so it’s best to shop for shoes in the afternoon or evening. This way, you can ensure that the shoes you buy will fit comfortably even when your child’s feet are slightly swollen.

Watch for Potential Foot Problems

Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters, calluses, corns, and ingrown toenails which can not only be painful but also increase the risk for infection. Keep an eye on those toes and contact your Podiatrist if you notice any issues.

Finding the right shoes for your child is essential for their foot health and overall comfort. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the shoe shopping journey with ease. Remember, prioritize fit, comfort, and quality, and involve your child in the decision-making process. If your kids aren’t excited about going back to school, at least you can send them back wearing shoes that look good and feel great! If you or your children have any foot or ankle issues they are experiencing, it is best to get it taken care of as soon as possible. Contact Dr. Kylin Kovac or Dr. Jed Erickson at Idaho Foot and Ankle Center, they specialize in foot care for the whole family!