Parents so often worry about their kid’s teeth, eyes, and most other regions of the body, but don’t get worried so much over the developing foot. Plenty of adult foot problems can have their origins when people are young, awareness to footwear in children can minimize the risk of these problems in adults.
Importance of the footwear to the child:
Improperly fitting kid’s footwear can cause a number of conditions in adults such as hammer toes, ingrown toe nails, foot corns, calluses and bunions. Given the high level of discomfort and pain that these conditions can cause, it is obviously logical to attempt to prevent these disorders by making sure that the child’s footwear is fitted properly. Foot disorders in kids are generally preventable.
Fitting footwear for the child:
The most crucial factor in footwear for a child is that they fit. Preferably, this means that shoes are fitted by someone who has had some special education in the fitting of children’s footwear.
Tips for the fitting of children’s shoes:
* Kids should have their feet measured roughly every 3 months (thus ensuring the need for new footwear as needed).
* Usually, for a shoe to be correctly fitted, there needs to be a thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe.
* When viewing the bottom (sole) of the shoe, it needs to be fairly straight (not curved in too much) – feet are straight, so the shoe ought to be straight.
* The fastening system (laces, velcro, buckles) must hold the heel securely in the back of the shoe (the foot ought not to be able to slide forward in the shoe).
* the heel counter (back part of the footwear) needs to be robust and stable.
* the shoe ought to be flexible along the ball of the foot, since this is where the foot flexes.
* Leather and canvas are a better material – these are more robust and can breathe. Man-made materials usually do not breathe as well, except if they are of the ‘open weave’ variety. Avoid plastics.
* Check that the footwear have rounded toe boxes to give the toes more room to move and grow.
* Shoes shouldn’t have to be “broken in”. Should they do, they may be either improperly designed or badly fitted.
* An absorbent insole is useful, as the feet can sweat a lot – kids are very active!
* Several stores focus on shoes for the child – make use of them!
* Fitting footwear correctly in adults is also just as important
3 tips for examining the child’s shoe:
There should be a thumb width between the end of the footwear and the end of the longest toe = length is correct.
You need to be able to pinch the upper of the footwear between the thumb and forefinger (this could depend on the nature of the materials) = width is proper.
Does the shoe fit snugly around the heel and instep? How stable is the shoe when trying to ‘pull off’ the footwear? = great fit.