I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, which gave me the opportunity to evaluate hundreds of different types of children’s feet. This experience has afforded me many insights into children’s shoes and the way they fit.
The shoe store that I work for specializes in shoes for children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well.
Some of the most common children’s foot conditions such as flat feet, overpronation, low muscle tone, or rolled ankles can be treated with the correct pair of shoes and in certain cases orthotics as well.
My approach when it comes to treating children’s foot conditions is very different from the one that most pediatricians recommend. I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions, since this can lead to the condition worsening over time.
Based on my 10 years of experience, I have noticed how shoes play a key role in keeping a child’s feet healthy.
I have put together the 6 most important kids’ shoe facts that will help you keep your kids’ feet healthy.
1st Fact: Supportive Shoes are better than Soft Soled Shoes (except for one exception).
The debate of whether children should wear supportive or minimalist shoes goes back many years, and both sides of the debate have valid points and studies to support their claims. I can tell you from my own experience what has worked for thousands of children who I have evaluated before.
Let me start off by saying that children place an enormous amount of stress on their feet and legs, and their feet endure 3 times more stress than the average adult foot.
Shoes that are too soft don’t provide the correct amount of support to attenuate the impact that a child’s feet take when they come in contact with the ground, and this can lead to your child developing foot and leg pain. On the other hand, shoes that are too rigid or too stiff prevent the child to strengthen the foot muscles on their own.
I believe that children need to wear shoes that provide a combination of the correct amount of support and flexibility, with one exception: Babies who are learning how to walk.
Babies and toddlers who are learning how to walk need to wear lightweight and flexible shoes that imitate barefoot for healthy foot development. The shoes also need to come with sensory pods on the bottom of the soles to allow the baby to feel the ground. I actually have written an article that describes the best shoes for babies and toddlers who are learning how to walk. Go to the link below:
Once children are fully walking the shoes need to provide a substantial sole and a firm heel counter, and the shoes need to be lightweight and flexible at the same time to help children strengthen the muscles on their own.
Children are involved in high impact activities that place an enormous amount of stress on their feet and legs. I have fitted certain shoe styles that provide good shock absorption and are lightweight and flexible at the same time.
You can refer to the article below for a selection of the best shoes for children who are already walking:
2nd Fact: Most foot problems in adulthood are a result of unsupportive or ill-fitting shoes during childhood.
The feet are the foundation of our entire body. If your child has a foot imbalance, your child’s pelvis and spine will suffer as your child keeps getting older.
Shoes that don’t provide the correct amount of support or that are the wrong size put the child at risk for developing injuries or foot problems later in life.
Investing in a pair of supportive shoes and making sure that the shoes are fitting the shape of your child’s feet correctly is a good and a smart investment.
3rd Fact: Shoes with Extra Depth and Rounder Toe-Boxes Help Keep Kids’ Feet Healthy
I have noticed how there is a large number of children who have wide or extra wide feet.
Most parents believe that a shoe that is labeled as wide or extra wide will automatically fit the shape of a child with wide feet. There are 2 key features that your kids’ shoes need to provide to fit the shape of their wide feet:
✅ Extra Depth: This feature allows the child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes, and prevent the top part of the feet and the toes from rubbing against the top part of the shoes.
✅ Rounder toe-boxes: This feature prevents the toes from rubbing against one another or the side of the shoes.
4th Fact: Breathable Shoes Help Prevent Foot Issues for Children with Sweaty Feet
Children’s feet sweat 2 to 3 more times than the average adult foot. This is one of the main reasons why children wear down their shoes faster than expected.
Sweat doesn’t only affect the durability of the shoe, but it also puts your child at danger for developing a foot condition such as foot fungus and infections.
Breathable shoes allow the moisture and heat of the child’s foot to escape and allow airflow in. It’s important for the shoes to also be machine washable, in order to kill any remaining bacteria inside the shoes.
Keep in mind that the shoes and the socks work together in preventing the child’s feet from sweating excessively.nIf you have a child with sweaty feet, please refer to the articles below to take a look at a selection of the best breathable and machine washable shoes and the best socks for sweaty feet.
5th Fact: Wearing the Wrong Shoe Size is the Cause of Most Foot Problems
I am always emphasizing to parents how it doesn’t matter how many features a particular shoe styles provides, if the shoes are not fitted properly, the child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.
You need to consider your child’s foot length as well as your child foot width. The instep of the foot also affects the final shoe size.
I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local shoe store. Check out the map below to figure out whether you have a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area or not:
If after looking at that map you can’t locate a shoe store in your area, then there is a video I created that explains in detail how to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home. Go to the link below:
Please keep in mind that figuring out your child’s foot size is just the first step when trying to figure out your child’s correct shoe size. Shoes can fit short, long, or true to size, and depending on how they fit you will need to adjust the size that you get for your child.
If you have ready any of my previous articles you probably noticed how every time I recommend a particular shoe style, I always explain parents how they fit.
6th Fact: The Instep of Your Child’s Feet Limits what Shoes Your Child can Wear
Th instep is the top part of the foot, and when it’s high, it makes it really complicated to find shoes that fit. Take a look at the picture below to visualize where the instep of the foot is located:
There are certain shoe styles that provide extra depth and allow the chid’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes. If you believe your child has a high instep please refer to the article below to see a selection of the best shoes for kids with high insteps:
These are the 6 most important kids’ shoe facts that you need to know in order to provide your child with the correct pair of shoes and socks and help keep your child’s feet healthy.
Please don hesitate to contact me directly if you are unsure whether your child has a foot condition or if you are not sure of your child’s exact foot shape. I will help you determine whether your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet as well as whether your child has a high instep or not: email@example.com
If you send me pictures of your child’s feet barefoot and standing on a flat surface I would be able to evaluate your child’s feet and also tell you what foot shape your child has.