Here are some tips when purchasing shoes for children with problem feet:
- Both feet should be measured and if two different sizes, shoes should be chosen that fit the larger foot best.
- Examine the shoe itself. It sllould have a firm heel counter (stiff material on either side of the heel), adequate cushioning of the insole and a built-in arch. It should be flexible enough to bend where the foot bends at the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the shoe.
- Have the child walk around the store for more than just a few minutes wearing the shoe with a normal sock. Ask the child if her or she feels any pressure spots in the shoe. Feel the inside of the shoe for any staples or irregularities in the glue that could cause irritation. Examine where the inside stitching hits the foot. Look for signs of irritation on the foot after the shoe is worn.
- Never try to force your child's feet to fit a pair of shoes.
- Shoes should not slip off at the heels. Children who tend to sprain their ankles will do better with high-top shoes or boots.
- The child's foot should be sized while he or she is standing up with full weight-bearing.
- There should be about one-half inch of space (or thumb's width) between the tip of the toes and the end of the shoes. The child should be able to comfortably wiggle his or her toes in the shoe.
A soft, pliable, roomy shoe such as a sneaker is ideal for all children. The toe box should provide enough space for growth and should be wide enough to allow the toes to wiggle. (A finger's breath of extra length will usually allow for about three to six month's worth of growth, though this can vary depending on your child's age and rate of growth).
If your child frequently removes his or her shoes, those shoes may be uncomfortable. Check your child's feet periodically for signs of too-tight shoes, such as redness, calluses or blisters and have your child's feet measured periodically at the shoe store to determine whether his or her feet have grown enough to warrant a larger pair of shoes.
Remember that the primary purpose of shoes is to prevent injury. Shoes seldom correct children's foot deformities or change a foot's growth pattern. Casting, bracing or surgery a re often needed of a serious deformity is presented. If you notice a problem, have your child examined.
Because high-top shoes lie above the ankle, they are recommended for younger children who may have trouble keeping their shoes on. Contrary to common belief, however high-top shoes offer no advantages in terms of foot or ankle support over their low-cut counterparts.
What To Look For in a Good Shoe for Your Child
- Avoid shoes that have seams over areas of pain such as a bunion.
- Avoid shoes witll heavy rubber soles that curve over the toe area (such as seen on some running shoes), as they can catch on carpets and cause an accidental fall.
- Flat shoes (with a heel height of one inch or less) are the healthiest shoes for your feet, If you must wear a high heel, keep to a heel height of two inches or less; limit them to three hours at a time then coming to and from an activity.
- Laced, rather than slip-on shoes provide a more secure fit and can accommodate insoles, orthotic devices and braces.
- Look for shoes that are shock absorbing and skid resistant, such as rubber rather than smooth leather.
- The shoe should be made of a soft material that has some give, like glove leather.