WARNING: If your child is not taking his shoes off properly, they will NOT get any of the benefits that the shoe has to offer! So basically, it doesn’t matter how supportive the shoe is, if your child keeps yanking his shoes off, the shoes will wear down faster! Every time that your child yanks the shoes off, the heel counter of the shoe becomes softer and softer.
How many times have you asked your child to take their shoes off properly by undoing the velcro straps or the shoe laces?
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 6 years now, and I have fitted all different types of children’s shoes and I have helped children minimize and eliminate their foot pain. Once I am getting ready to measure the child’s foot, I either help them take their shoes off or I ask them to take them off themselves. Every time they take them off themselves, they yank them off! It’s like they are in such a rush to take their shoes off!
Take a look at the picture below and notice how the heel part of the shoe on the right got stretched out because the child had been yanking the shoes off without undoing the velcro strap. The shoe on the left is how the shoe looked when it was new, and the shoe on the right is how the shoe looks after the child wore them for only 3 months. You can tell how the heel of the shoe got all stretched out, and the marks you see in the side of the shoe is from the child using his opposite foot to yank the shoes off.
Why is the heel counter of the shoe so important? This is what provides your child with ankle support and prevents ankle sprains. It also helps your child with lateral movement. You can imagine this is particularly important for children who are involved in sports such as tennis, basketball, or football, since all of these sports require a great deal of lateral movement.
When the child doesn’t take their shoes off properly, the shoes start getting all stretched out and the amount of ankle support becomes minimal to non-existent.
I proceed to explain to the parents how this will have a negative impact on their children’s feet and legs, and their response is:
“You should try to tell him, I have already told him a thousand times”!
I always try to explain to the kids that is a matter of making this a good habit. Once the child starts taking the shoes off properly, they won’t even have to think about it doing it the right way anymore!
When the heel counter of the shoe starts getting softer, the child begins walking and running in a shoe that has no ankle support. The child might start complaining about pain, and this ends up stressing the parents out and taking the child to a physical therapist to have their feet and legs checked, when truly all the child needed was to take proper care of the shoes.
Getting the right style of shoe for your child is not enough. You must make sure you are providing your child with the correct shoe size as well. If you don’t have a local kids’ shoe store in your area that you trust, you can find the secret out here. I wrote a post that describes the steps you need to take to make sure your kids’ are wearing the correct pair of shoes. The post is called:
Does Your Child Wear Orthotics? Taking Shoes Off Properly!
Does your child wear orthotics in his shoes? At the children’s shoe store that I work for, we carry all sort of different type of orthotics for different types of foot issues. For most parents, buying an orthotic for their child is an investment, since they can be very pricey.
I always explain to parents that if their child is not going to take the shoes off the proper way, they might as well not waste their money on orthotics. The child will not get any of the benefits the orthotics has to offer!
Some shoes have firmer heel counters than others, meaning that some shoes provide more ankle support. Actually, top of the line shoe brands such as New Balance or Asics make their shoes with very firm heel counters. There are other brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour (three of the most well know shoes brands) that actually make children shoes that are just awful for their feet!
Their shoes don’t provide any support whatsoever, and they are more fashion oriented than anything else. In fact, the next time you are at one of their shoe stores, grab a pair of their children shoes and feel them, press on the heel counter and you will see how soft and flabby they are!
Caution: Avoid Buying Shoes From Nike, Adidas, Or Under Armour!
Shoes that don’t have a firm heel counter or don’t provide proper ankle support can be a direct cause of foot injuries and foot problems. Buying a shoe with a firm heel counter will not solve all your child’s foot problems if they don’t take their shoes off properly. Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are NOT known for providing children shoes with good support. In fact, all their shoes are more fashion oriented than anything else!
As your child starts getting older, they will start asking for these brands, but keep a close eye on their feet and legs for any signs of foot or leg pain.
I wrote a post where I describe the best kids’ sneakers when it comes to support and structure. The post is called:
Also, take a look at the way the shoe below has been worn down. Some parents will come to the store complaining about the wear of the shoe, when actually it has nothing to do with the shoe wearing down quickly from use. It is actually a sign that the child has been using their opposite foot to take the shoes off. That particular spot is generally where they use their opposite foot to yank the shoes off. Take a look at the picture below for clarification!
HELP: My Child Refuses To Take Their Shoes Off Properly!
Explain to your child how much of an important role shoes play in keeping feet and legs healthy. Tell them about the importance taking 10 extra seconds to properly remove shoes from the feet can have. Yes, it might seem like a lost battle for you now, but the more often you tell them, the higher the chances are that they will actually stop yanking his shoes off.
I always emphasize when I see children at the store the importance of taking their shoes off properly. One of the families I help regularly came to the shoe store the other day telling me how every time their child yanks his shoes off, they ask him, “What will Juan Pablo say?” I find it funny, but those parents are doing their homework! Keep reminding your child, you will get through him eventually!
Are you struggling in finding good, supportive shoes for your child to wear? I always recommend parents take their children to their local shoe store to have their feet properly measured. However, if you don’t have a local children’s shoe store in your area that you trust, below you can find some of the best fitting shoes that I have fitted in the shoe store that I work for. They come in all different widths: medium, wide, and extra wide widths, and they provide the best arch and ankle support!
The shoes in the first-row fit “short”, which 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.
The shoes in the second-row fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
Does your child take their shoes off without undoing the velcro or untying the shoes? Are their shoes all stretched out from not undoing the velcro or the shoe laces?Please share your thoughts and experiences below so we can all benefit from them!