Selecting Proper Shoes for Children
A child will need various pairs of shoes as they grow. Shoes that don’t fit correctly can lead to all kinds of problems for their feet, including calluses and bunions, hammertoes, and even ingrown toenails. All of these issues can be prevented just by carefully selecting shoes for your child. After reading the following guidelines, you’ll be prepared to choose the right pair of shoes for your child, regardless of his or her age.
The littlest feet don’t need shoes yet but it’s still important to keep their feet warm, cozy, and clean. Wide socks or fabric booties that mimic the shape of the baby’s foot are best.
Children between nine and 18 months who are beginning to walk need certain characteristics in a shoe. A high-top shoe with laces or Velcro that creates a high closure is most likely to stay put while your toddler runs awry. A low-top shoe such as slip-ons is not a good option for a child’s first shoe. Toddler shoes should be light and made of a material that allows the foot to breathe because children’s feet are prone to heavy perspiration.
The Right Fit
Typically, children three and older experience foot growth at the rate of one-half a foot size every four to six months, but a growth spurt can cause a child’s feet can grow up to two sizes in a six month period. So how can you keep their feet comfy, without going broke from buying new shoes? You need to leave room for growth when selecting. There should always be extra room for a child’s foot to grow in the toe area or ‘box’ of the shoe. A good measure for this extra wiggle room could be the width of one of your fingers. From the tip of the child’s big toe to the tip of the shoe, extra space the length of one finger width should do.
As kids age, they put their shoes through a lot, and luckily most shoes are made to withstand some of this wear and tear. Before tossing every scuffed pair, look around the edge of the sole for wear in the material. This is a sign the shoe is truly too small for the child now and should be replaced. Remember that a pair of shoes that fits correctly should be comfortable when they are first put on. If the shoe needs to be worn to be broken in, it never fit correctly. Properly fitting shoes can save a child from a lot of discomfort and potentially serious foot problems. Shop smart and choose wisely!