Are you overwhelmed by the variety of shoes available for your children when you go shoe shopping? While it's easy to go for the cutest pair, the perfect shoe for your small boy or girl is determined by fit and function rather than fashion. Making the effort to acquire a proper fit now can help them build healthy feet for the rest of their lives. The foot of a child can continue to grow until around the age of 18, which is why good shoe fit and function are so important for your child's foot health and growth.
In the short term, improperly fitting shoes can cause foot pain in your child, as well as calluses, corns, ingrown toenails, and blisters. In the long run, more serious problems such as foot and toe abnormalities may arise. If your child wears poorly-fitted shoes throughout his or her developing years — particularly before the age of five — it can contribute to long-term posture and walking issues, as well as back pain later in life. In reality, many adult foot disorders stem from ill-fitting shoes or bad childhood foot experiences.
Let's have a look at these five pointers to ensure you get the ideal pair:
1. Measure your child's feet
Instead of attempting to measure your child's feet at home, take them to a shoe store. A store associate will have the greatest tools for determining the length and width of your child's feet.
Additional tip: Have your child stand and place a small amount of weight on each foot to extend it for a more precise measurement.
2. Don't go overboard with your purchases
One of the most prevalent problems is when parents buy their children shoes which are too big for them. This is particularly concerning for infants and toddlers who are still learning to walk and are frequently unstable.
Parents frequently purchase larger shoes in the hopes that their children will grow into them and that they will last longer. However, shoes that are half or a full size too big put your youngster at risk of tripping and falling, which can result in damage.
3. Always keep an eye on your toes
Overcrowding or increased pressure on the toes can be avoided with adequate depth and width in the front of the shoe, or toe box. Make absolute sure your child's shoes allow him or her to freely flex the front of his or her foot and wriggle his or her toes — without any slippage or crushed toes.
From the longest toe towards the front of the shoe, allow 1 to 2 cm (or roughly a thumb's width). More over 3 cm is too large, whereas less than 1 cm is excessively little.
4. Support takes priority over aesthetics
Because children are usually active and like sports and other physical activities, closed-toe athletic shoes with arch support are the ideal choice. Rubber soles are especially beneficial for children since they provide enhanced traction and lower the chance of falling. Hard soles provide more support, but a shoe with a soft sole allows you to flex back and forth freely, providing minimal support and control of foot movements.
Buying shoes made of breathable materials like leather, canvas, or mesh is also recommended by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. The feet of children sweat more than the feet of adults. Air flow can be improved with the use of these materials.
5. Replace the shoe if it does not fit
If your child is still developing, shoes may need to be checked and replaced every three to four months. In that time, children's feet grow roughly a half size, and they require lots of space to allow them to develop properly.
Take the time to carefully measure and fit shoes, and choose models that provide good support, and you'll set your children up for success for the rest of their lives.
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