I have been helping parents find the correct type of shoes for their children online for the last five years, and I always emphasize to them how shoes play a key role in keeping their kids’ feet and legs healthy.
All parents want their children to be healthy and to grow and to develop without having to experience health problems that require frequent visits to the doctor.
Luckily, most foot and ankle problems in children can be treated so as the child continues to grow, the feet function properly and without pain.
Once your children start walking and need a pair of shoes, you must provide them with the correct type of shoes and this involves the correct shoe length and the correct shoe width.
One common mistake I see parents make is how they choose their kids’ shoes more motivated by fashion than by what their kids feet really need. This can lead to several foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns, as well as foot and leg pain.
The most important factor in choosing shoes for your child is that the shoes fit the shape of your kids’ feet properly and to never force your kids’ foot to fit in the shoes.
What is crucial when picking your kids’ shoes is to find shoes that supports, cushions, and protects the feet.
I am an expert when it comes to fitting children’s shoes since I have worked at a children’s shoe store for 10 years. I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics at a premier children’s shoe store specializing in proper fit for over forty years. We specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fitting as well.
Keep in mind that I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store that they trust, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes accordingly. The issue is that most local children’s shoe stores have been closing down and we are left with big retailers that don’t have people who know how to fit shoes.
If you are one of these parents without a children’s shoe store in your area, you have nothing to worry about since I will describe exactly how to make sure your kids’ shoes fit and I will also provide you with a selection of the best everyday shoes for children.
Choosing the correct type of shoes for your child will promote healthy foot development by providing needed stability and support.
When babies take their first steps, they begin their practice of a complex task that involves balance and coordination, muscles and joints, legs and feet. Foot health is extremely valuable to overall body health, that’s the reason why it’s so important to provide our children with the correct pair of shoes in order to keep their feet and legs healthy.
I always try to emphasize on thing to parents: Shoes are so much more than simply coverings of the feet.
Shoes should also always feel comfortable, right from day one. So, if your child is already capable of expressing himself or herself and is complaining that the shoes don’t feel right, don’t fall for the trap that shoes need a “break-in period”. It is true that shoes will get softer as you wear them, but they also should feel comfortable before your child leaves the shoe store.
If your child complains that the shoe is pinching or rubbing his or her feet the wrong way, don’t buy the shoes! Did you know that shoe size and fit vary widely between styles and manufacturers? Always keep looking until you find a shoe that properly fits the shape of your child’s feet.
What does a proper fit actually mean?
This means that you should always fit your kids’ shoes to accommodate their longest and widest foot, making sure that there is a half-thumbnail width between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
In order to accomplish this, you must measure your kids’ feet with your child standing up.
If you want to learn how to measure your kids’ feet at home in more detail take a look at an article I wrote called:
A child’s shoe size can change as often as 3 months, so always check the fit of your kids’ shoes frequently
The Best Everyday Children’s Shoes – Learn The Secret!
Some shoes do the exact opposite of what shoes should do, which can cause serious problems to your kids’ feet rather than supporting and cushioning their feet.
This is the reason why I created a selection of the most supportive, yet lightweight and flexible kids’ shoes that are also available in different widths such as narrow, medium, wide and extra wide widths. You can find that selection here:
The selection of Saucony shoes all fit “short”. This means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room. When fitting children’s shoes, we normally go a half a size longer in order to leave growing room, but when a shoe runs short we actually need to go a whole size longer.
The selection of the New Balance shoes all fit “true to size” which means that you only need to go a half a size longer in order to allow for growing room.
Remember that these shoe styles are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide, so no matter how wide your kids’ feet are, these shoes will accommodate the shape of their feet.
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Shoe Fitting – Keep Your Kids’ Feet Healthy!
Second-hand shoes are commonly used in children, but I always explain parents that this is not a good idea unless the shoes are infrequently worn and are in good shape.
I always strongly advise parents to not provide their children with high-heeled shoes, because these shoes encourage foot deformities to develop and can lead to ankle, calf, and lower back pain.
Also, keep in mind that flip flops and certain sandals can create several problems to your kids’ feet. They lack arch support (this can lead to pain in various joints and tendons), they don’t provide protection from fallen objects, and they expose the top of the foot to the sun, which increases the chances of developing skin cancer.
Let’s take a look at some do’s and don’ts that will help you understand how to keep your kids’ feet healthy!
- Wash your kids’ feet, including between the toes, daily with water and a mild soap.
- Thoroughly dry your kids’ feet and between the toes after washing them.
- Moisturize your kids’ feet (but not between the toes) after washing them.
- Always trim your kids’ toenails straight across rather than by rounding them.
- Inspect your kids’ feet regularly to make sure there is no cuts, blisters, dry skin, or other skin marks.
- Make sure your child is wearing shoes that fit properly and that are designed for that specific activity they might be doing. Pay special attention if you provide your child with open-toe shoes, sandals, and flip flops since they can easily injure their feet specially in escalators and elevators.
- Alternate your kids’ shoes from day to day to allow the shoes to dry out.
- Allow your child to walk barefoot outside the house because of the risk of wounding the feet and getting an infection.
- Wear shoes that are too short, too narrow, too big, or too wide because they will cause problems such as blisters, calluses, and corns.
- Allow your child to share shoes with other children because this can lead to skin and toenail fungal infections. You also shouldn’t provide your child with hand me down shoes since shoes start losing their inherit support and cushioning as they wear down. Keep in mind that shoes wear down according to a child’s individual structure and function. For example, if a child tends to pronate he or she will wear the shoe down in the inside, and if that shoe gets passed down to a supinator it can have a devastating effect.
- Soak the feet into water since this will dry your kids’ skin and increase the risk of an open wound becoming infected.
- Ignore your kids’ foot or leg pain because this is an indication of the body that something is wrong.
Always take your child to your physical or occupational therapist if your child is experience any of the following or if you notice:
- Persistent pain or swelling of the foot.
- Discoloration of the skin or toenails.
- Pain in the foot or ankle that gets worse with activity.
- A flattening of your kids’ foot arch.
Now that you know how to choose shoes for your child and what are the best everyday shoes for children, you are ready to make the most informative decision!
Do you have a children’s shoe store in your area that you TRUST? I get contacted by parents daily that want to know if there is a good children’s shoe store in their area, so if you share yours in the comments section below all parents can benefit from your experiences.