I found your blog and found it very helpful!
I have an eight-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son, and I have bought almost exclusively Plae shoes for my kids, which has worked out well for the most part, but we are facing a challenge with my daughter that I can’t find an answer for on your blog and I wonder if you can help me and/or write a post about this issue, with recommendations. I tried using your shoe recommendation engine, which is great, but it doesn’t address this issue.
My daughter, Olivia, is a tall, strong, eight years old, who weighs 85 pounds already and is in girls’ size 10-12 clothing, and she wants to be able to walk and run and be athletic. The Plae shoes are fine for every day at school, but they are so thin and don’t seem to provide any support, sort of like the Keds I grew up with, they have no cushion or shock absorption, and they are now causing bleeding on the back of her Achilles’ tendon area.
So, the first issue: I’d like a shoe that does have a lot of cushion and shock absorption.
She is used to the wider, asymmetrically shaped, and ergonomically flexible shaped Plae shoes (I know you don’t consider them wide, but they are wider than other shoes we’ve tried, and although I think our kids have “wide” feet, I get that they are actually a “medium” width), it’s hard to find a brand that has a comfy shape. Olivia has, I think, I high instep, so although her feet are probably “normal” width, as you have pointed out, she would need a roomier shoe. So that’s one issue–we need an athletic shoe she can wear for outdoor walk/play days and also probably she would wear them to school every day, too.
Second issue: Even more important: bleeding on back of Achilles’ tendon area.
Olivia is now getting bleeding rubbed-off skin in a small spot on the back of her heels, on the thin, vertical flesh covering the Achilles’ tendon. This happens with a lot of sandals, flats, and now even with her Plae shoes.
I have this exact same problem! There are ballet-type flat shoes and loafers and pumps that if I wear for even 10 minutes, I have bleeding on the back of my feet in the same way. So, I think this is a genetic issue were we just don’t have much padding over the tendon, and many shoes just don’t work for us. I generally wear Merrell’s “Barefoot” type shoes, with socks, to be comfortable, and am uncomfortable when I have to wear almost any nicer looking shoes.
We bought Olivia some Nike shoes with huge soft padding in the back, and that seemed to help. But her current shoes are all size 3 and from 6 months ago and she is growing fast. It’s time to buy her 1) new athletic/everyday sneakers, 2) summer sandals/shoes to wear without socks (okay if they are big and ugly, we only care about comfort).
What do you recommend? I’ve read all the articles about what to do about this type of issue, and they all say to lubricate the foot with oil or powder, or to wear thick socks, or use large pads or bandages, but I’m hoping to start with the right shoes.
Thanks again. I assume she is now in a size 3.5 and am also wondering if I should be looking at women’s shoes and confused about “little kid” versus “big kid” versus women’s shoe sizes. Any help much appreciated. Thanks for devoting yourself to helping kids!
I think that PLAE shoes are great and they do fit wide feet, but they are not my preference since they don’t provide a lot of structure and support, which leads to poor shock absorption and your kids’ feet and legs taking an impact every time they become in contact with the ground.
PLAE shoes are definitely wider than other shoe brands, but for a child with wide or extra wide feet I will rather stick with New Balance or Saucony shoe style (since they both provide more everyday support).
If Olivia also has a high instep, then we need a deeper shoe to accommodate her instep. I have fitted several children’s shoe styles and I have found that certain New Balance shoe styles tend to run the deepest.
The fact that she is bleeding on the back of the Achilles’ tendon area is a much bigger concern. In order to attack this issue, I will recommend a shoe with the features I mentioned above (supportive, deep, with a wide toe-box, and ALSO with a well-padded and soft heel counter).
I don’t recommend that you provide her with any type of Nike shoes, especially if she is in the wider side with a high instep. Nike shoes tend to run narrow and they don’t provide the support you are looking for in a shoe.
I have helped other children with similar issues and the correct type of shoes will make a huge difference. I don’t recommend that you start looking into women’s shoes just yet, since you will end up paying double of the price and she still is in a size were she can get a decent selection of kids’ sneakers.
Allow grace to go barefoot as much as possible around the house, so the back of her feet can heal faster. I have helped several kids with heel pain and I can tell you that the correct type of shoes will make a huge difference in solving the issue.
Here is my recommendation for her everyday sneakers:
Here is my recommendation for her summer sandal (I am assuming that you are looking for a closed-toe, supportive, water-play sandal):
On a separate note, you mentioned that you had a similar issue with your feet and always have a hard time finding dress shoes that fit. Take a look at an article I wrote where I describe the most comfortable women’s dress shoes with arch support:
Thank you so much! That is exactly the advice I needed.
Another possible blog post, and I apologize if you’ve written about this already: To get her size fit properly from home instead of going to the store, do you have any recommendations were to go, or is it okay to do at home with a print out or a measuring device?
There was a local, independent shoe store here in San Francisco that we used to go to, and they were great at sizing, but they closed up shop a couple of years ago, called Brooks Shoes. Now I have no idea were to go and would rather figure it out at home anyway.
Thanks again! So grateful for your help!
I actually already wrote an article where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to provide your child with the correct shoe size.
You can find that article here:
I also wrote another article were I describe the best device to measure your kids’ feet from home:
If you ever need help finding a particular topic on my website please refer to the “Search” bar at the top right of my website were you can type a keyword of what you are looking for (make sure it’s spelled correctly), and it will show you all the articles I have written in that particular topic.
Take a look at the picture below for clarification:
For example, if you type kids with heel pain in the “search box” it will bring you all the articles related to that keyword.
I hope this clarifies!
Oh thank you!!! Sorry I didn’t find them myself. Thank you again! One last thing, should I be looking to provide Olivia with a particular type of sock? I feel like socks can make a difference in protecting her ankles from rubbing against the shoes.
The issue is that she dislikes the way socks feel, and she feels every bump and lump and always takes them off. Do you know if there is a special type of sock for kids with sensitive feet?
Please let me know!
If Olivia’s skin is sensitive around the ankle area you might want to also provide her with a pair of good socks that provide cushion and padding around that area. Did you know that socks play a key role in keeping our kids’ feet healthy? Socks do more than simply act as a barrier between our kids’ feet and the shoes, they prevent the formation of bacteria, blisters, calluses, and corns.
I always recommend parents to get their children socks that are seamless (this allows your kids to freely move their toes and prevents them from overlapping each other), and also breathable (that way you can prevent foot odors and prevent your kids from walking and running around with wet socks).
Since she has. hard time dealing with how socks feel, I will recommend that you provide her with a pair of seamless socks. You can find them in an article I wrote called:
This is an experience from a family and I decided to share it so other parents that might have children with the same issues might benefit from this experience.