Did you know that you can seriously hurt your child’s feet and cause all sort of foot problems by wearing hand-me-down shoes? I understand that we are all in different financial situations, but it is ALWAYS better to buy a new shoe, even if it is the cheapest shoe, rather than providing our kids’ with hand-me-down shoes!
Several problems arise when your child is not wearing the right type of shoe and all of those problems can be prevented. Did you know that seventy percent of foot problems come from wearing the wrong type of shoe? There are several health concerns associated with second hand shoes for kids and some of them are:
- Hand-me-down shoes tend to mold into the shape of the child’s foot who wore it before.
- The tread and the heel counter of the hand me down shoe might be worn down, which can lead to less support and stability.
- Bacteria and fungus tend to thrive within the materials of older, used shoes.
I have been working at a children’s shoe store for almost six years now, and we specialize in children that have foot problems. Pediatricians and physical therapists are always sending children our way to have them evaluated and fitted for good supportive shoes and orthotics.
Here is a common question parents tend to ask:
Is it okay for my child to wear hand-me-down shoes?
I always explain to them how hand-me-down shoes can actually weaken the muscles and ligaments of the foot, can cause issues with bacterial or fungal infections, and depending on the age of the child, can alter the shape of the child’s foot.
Once in a while I will get a parent that says: ” My child will wear these shoes for such a short period of time that the shoes won’t affect him at all. It is not worth buying a new pair because he grows out of them so quickly!”
That is actually false since used shoes have already molded to the previous child’s foot, and passing them down can affect the shape of your child’s foot especially at an early stage, even if worn for a few hours. I get it, children’s feet do grow at a fast rate, but not providing them with a pair of good shoes will end up costing you more in the long run!
I would like you to stop reading for a minute and think what would be YOUR answer to this question: Are you 100% sure that your child is wearing the correct shoe size?
I believe most parents’ answer will be: NO! I wrote a post that you can probably benefit from reading called:
Say No To Hand-Me-Down Shoes!
Have you noticed how when your children take their shoes off they tend to pull them off without undoing the velcro strap or the shoe laces? The issue is that every time they put them on, or take them off that way, they are stretching the heel counter of the shoe, which ends up becoming too wide and not–supportive. Basically, the shoe gets all stretched out!
The picture on the left shows a shoe that has been worn for a period of 4 months, and the picture on the right shows a new, unworn shoe.Do you notice the difference around the heel of the shoe? The one on the left has been stretched out. This is the type of hand-me-down shoe you definitely want to stay away from. The shoe will be too wide around the ankle of your child, which leads to less support and risk for injuries.
There are several reasons for not using hand-me-down shoes. The only time they might be appropriate is when you are wearing a hand-me-down shoe such as a snow boot or rain boot since that type of footwear tends to retain its shape and it’s worn for a very short period of time depending on the weather.
Warning! Are You Ruining Your Kids’ Feet?
As mentioned before, there are several health issues related with wearing hand-me-down shoes. When a kid’s foot is inside the shoe it’s adding warmth and moisture to the shoe, making it the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus.
Did you know that fungus can thrive within the shoe for as long as a whole year? This is a risk you are taking when using hand-me-down shoes for your child. With that said, if your child happens to develop a blister and expose the underlying skin to these pathogens, you are making him or her more prone to bacterial or fungal infection!!!
If you have been using hand-me-down shoes for your child you have probably been saving some money short term, but in the long run, it WILL end up costing you more!
As mentioned before, you are promoting potentially serious foot issues on your child. In order to avoid that, invest in the cheapest new pair of everyday sneakers and have your child fitted so the shoe can last what is suppose to last. Remember that there is not such thing as two identical feet, and that all shoes fit differently.
If you want to know exactly how long your kids’ shoes should last, I wrote a post where I break it down by the age of the child. The post is called:
Is Saving 40 Dollars Worth Risking Your Kids Health? – Get The Right Shoe!
I understand that economizing is a part of everyone’s life, no matter the income bracket. I always explain to the parents that is always better buying the cheapest new shoe, rather than using a hand-me-down shoe. You can get an everyday shoe with excellent support and structure for the price of 40 dollars. Depending on the age of the child this shoe will last between 3 1/2 to 6 months. This is a smart investment to make since you will end up saving a lot of money if you take care of your children feet from an early stage!
Below you can find a selection of some of the most affordable kids’ everyday shoes, that also come in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide. Buying a more economical pair doesn’t mean you have to compromise the fit or the support the shoe provides! In fact, purchasing more expensive shoes doesn’t automatically translate into “better shoes“. I have fitted all the shoes you see below, and I can guarantee you they provide excellent support and durability!
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.
Hand-Me-Down Shoes- When Are They Appropriate?
If you are not able to afford a new pair of shoes, feel the hand-me-down shoes to make sure they have not been broken down and look at the tread to make sure it has not been worn off. You should also check if the shoe is machine washable that way you can get rid of any residual bacteria.
If you are still considering hand-me-downs shoes, there are two main factors to consider.
- Make sure the shoes are not too worn.
- Check the inner sole of the shoe to make sure it has not molded to the previous child’s foot.
The only time I recommend wearing a hand-me-down shoe is when the shoe is a snow boot or a rain boot that will be worn for a couple of hours and only once in a while.
Don’t Forget About The Socks! Keep Your Kids’ Feet Healthy!
Socks also play a huge role in keeping your kids’ feet healthy. Did you know they act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes? I explain EVERYTHING you MUST know about your kids’ socks (from how to get the correct size, to the most breathable socks for kids’, to why socks should be seamless) in a post called:
I hope that after reading this post you will agree with me that hand-me-down shoes are definitely a big No-No when it comes to everyday footwear for your child. The child that wore it before had his or her own walking habits and WILL wear the inner and outsole of the shoe in a particular way. The shoe will lack support, and there are several health concerns involving bacteria and fungi that can be passed down with the shoe.
Is your child currently wearing a hand-me-down shoe? Did you know about the negative impact this can have in your child’s feet? Have you passed down shoes before? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so we can all benefit from them!