How do you choose the right school shoe for your child?

It can be a tricky business finding the right school shoes for the troops and it is easy to see why. Children spend hours playing, running, jumping, and living in their shoes. They will often go through one, two or even three pairs of shoes a year as a consequence. In this blog I will help to decode the often-overwhelming task of buying new shoes for the school year.

How do you pick the right shoe for your child? 
School shoes fitting

To ensure shoes fit properly, make sure you have your child’s feet measured regularly for length and width. The shoe needs to fit to the natural shape of their feet, especially around the toes. Specifically, a child’s toes should move freely and not be squashed from the top or the side. Shoes should also fit comfortably around the heel and not be too loose or tight.

Does cost matter?
Providing the school shoes have the good fit features they should be more than adequate for the purpose without costing the earth. However, where cost may be a factor can be found in durability and longevity. Reputable brands will generally stand the test of time. Merivale Podiatry recommend Ascent and Clark.

What are the most common mistakes parents make?
Don’t be fooled by Boxing Day sales. We recommend best fit is to be measured by a trained shoe professional a couple of weeks prior to school starting. This way you will not be disappointed on day one of the school year. Just remember school shoes too big can also be a problem with children tripping, scuffing and dragging their toes, which means shoes are replaced sooner. They can also cause foot pain and stop them from keeping up with their classmates.

When do children’s feet stop growing?
Girls feet can stop growing between ages 13 to 15, while boys’ feet can continue to grow until their late teens.

How often should school shoes be checked?
School shoes should be checked halfway through the year or at the end of each term.

Is it ok to wear second-hand shoes?
Before you hand over that old pair of school shoes it is important to consider why it may not be the best thing for your child and here are a few reasons:

⦁ Shoes mould around the foot and the biomechanics of the wearer.  If your child has a second-hand pair of shoes that are moulded to the foot posture and function of another child, they may experience pain.  This is due to the foot having to work harder against the wear patterns of the previous wearer. This pain can be in the thighs, knees, shins, heels and arches which can be quite distressing for the child. 
⦁ Shoes are a major breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.  These organisms love warm, dark and moist places, so inside shoes is a great place to breed.  Keep these to yourself and don’t “spread the love.”
⦁ To give your child the best chance at development, growth and comfort get shoes fitted for them by a trained shoe fit specialist.
If there is one thing you buy your child new, it should be their shoes.  This includes their sport and activity shoes. You might think for the hour or so a week they are in them, it won’t matter, but generally speaking, the number of steps and impact created during sport and extra-curricular activities can be the equivalent of a day at school.

When should you seek advice from a podiatrist?

A podiatrist can help ensure your child’s school shoes fit correctly. A check-up with a podiatrist is also recommended if you notice changes, such as uneven shoe wear on the heels; or if pain is reported such as skin rashes, hard skin, lumps, bumps or itching on your child’s feet. A podiatrist can also help your child if they complain of recurrent pain in their feet or legs, especially as activities increase at school; or if your child is constantly tripping or falling both at and outside of school.

At Merivale Podiatry we have a team of highly experienced podiatrists who can assist you in finding the perfect school shoes for your children. Click here to contact us or book online!