Do Your Children’s Shoes Fit?

Children’s feet need special care and attention and nothing is more important than selecting and fitting children’s shoes.

Oh yes, Happy New Year! The year is racing along already with Christmas holidays a fading memory. At present summer in Johannesburg also feels like a fading memory thanks to all the rain. With January came the start of a new school year and being too distracted with moving the practice I missed a great opportunity for ‘back to school tips’, but it’s never too late to review some of the basics. Especially as children grow so quickly and usually don’t tell you about short shoes because they get used to squeezed toes, or they hate the look of their prescribed school shoes. (Remember how long they stay as soft cartilage).Look at the page on Children’s Feet.

Did you have your children with you when you bought their shoes? Many parents buy based on size and take the shoes home to fit. [There are valid socio-economic reasons in South Africa, but it’s still a bad idea]. Also getting children into school shoes can be difficult if they are first-timers or have just spent six weeks barefoot or in sandals. (Or possibly Crocs!!)

Did you buy the shoes with your children wearing the socks they normally use for school?

Are the shoes stable and protective for those soft  vulnerable feet?  Is the sole firm with a flexible leather upper?How much synthetic material is there which is going to make the feet sweat? How do they fasten? Velcro is ‘cool’ but not often found on a school shoe. Doing up laces is currently ‘uncool’.

I doubt very much that you were able to check the fit of the shoes by having your child’s feet measured! A simple method of checking fit is to pour some powder into the shoes, put them on and have the child walk round the kitchen. Carefully take off the shoes and look inside for a centimetre of powder beyond the end of the toes. If you don’t see it then the shoes are probably too small.On the other hand never buy shoes too big so that they "can grow into them" or in the hope that the shoes will last a school year.

Children can outgrow shoes as quickly as new cars lose their value, so at the end of every school holiday check the fit of your children’s school shoes.

It could be that your "little Einsteins" are suffering irrepairable damage to their feet and you haven’t checked.




Andrew has taught at the University as well as providing podiatry services in South Africa since 1977. Twice chair of the Podiatry Association of South Africa and a commentator on care of your feet on both radio and television he now works in private practice in Cape Town and Hout Bay.

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