There are three important factors that should be kept in mind, for choosing appropriate shoes for your child (aged 4 to 18 years). The first is foot comfort, the second is appropriateness and the third is foot protection. Depending on how fast the child is growing, the shoes need to be replaced for every one-half a foot size. This works out to be 4-6 months, depending on the child and age.
Some helpful questions to ask before buying a shoe:
- Comfort: Does the shoe fit comfortably?
- Appropriateness: Is the type of shoe appropriate for your child’s age?
- Protection: Does the show adequately protect the foot during the activities of your child?
There should be about one-half inch of space between your child’s toes and the front of the shoe (inside) or insert (if there is). You should be able to fit the tip of your finger between your child’s toes and the front of the shoe. Make sure the top of the shoe doesn’t press on the toes or the toenails. Rounded toe boxes give the toes more room to move, than pointy ones.
Children of school-going age should be given a variety of options: athletic shoes, sandals, hiking shoes, etc., and they should be able to use shoes in a functionally satisfactory manner, depending on the activity. It is always better to have different shoes for regular school and sports shoes for kids while playing games, sports and other physical fitness activities.
Protecting the foot
This is especially important for school-age children. Choose shoes made of sturdy material, but also flexible and well-ventilated, allowing room for growth. Athletic shoes should always be worn during games and sports.
Arch support is an important feature to look for, in all types of shoes. Shoes with proper arch support help in maintaining proper balance in running and playing. Some children may have a ‘flat foot’, and are in need of special inserts prescribed by a podiatrist.
Author: Raji Viswanadhan (Chief Peoples’ Officer @ upUgo)