How to choose the right shoes

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition
  Published on Wednesday, 06 February 2019

How to choose the right shoes

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition
  Published on Wednesday, 06 February 2019
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Young children are developing at a rate of knots and while they're growing in ability, understanding and independence, their bodies are also getting bigger. For this reason, it's important that their shoes fit correctly and that you know when to go up a size, especially if you are buying school shoes for the first time.

To take away the guesswork, this article looks at Choice's tips for choosing the right shoe.

What shoes do young children need?

Children's feet are very flexible. In fact, the bones in their don’t fuse together until puberty, so it's vital that young children wear shoes that are firm, supportive and fit properly.

To ensure correct sizing, it's recommended that you check your child's feet and shoes regularly, which means doing a size check:

  • Every one to three months up to the age of three
  • Every four months up to the age of five
  • Every six months until your child totally stops growing

How do you know if a shoe fits properly?

Many shoe shops and department stores offer a shoe-fitting service and it's an exciting day when a youngster gets to slip their foot into the measuring device!

If you don't have access to this service, here are some pointers to help you get the right shoe:

  • Measure both feet because there's usually a difference between left and right
  • Make sure their toes aren't touching the end of the shoe, as a guide, the big toe should have a gap of about half a thumb width from the end of the shoe
  • Check the shoes are deep and wide enough, your child's foot shouldn't look squashed
  • Get your child to take the shoes for a spin and ask how they feel, the shoes should feel instantly comfortable with no pressure points or sore bits
  • Shop for shoes in the afternoon when your child's feet are likely to be more swollen after a morning of activity
  • Avoid the temptation to buy shoes your child can 'grow into', this may save money, but it's more important that you nurture and protect those little feet and give your child a good base as they run, jump, play and develop

What should you look for in a school shoe?

Whether your child is getting their first pair of school shoes in 2019 or they're stepping out in a bigger size, here are seven things to look for in a school shoe:

  1. Flexibility in the front: A good shoe bends at the ball of the foot, but keeps the foot stable and supported in the back half, so that your child can 'push off' with their toes
  2. A small heel: This keeps the foot in a 'neutral' (not totally flat) position
  3. A comfortable weight: If a shoe is too heavy it can be a real pain
  4. Wiggle room: Plenty of space for toes
  5. Leather uppers: This natural material has the double benefit of being 'breathable' and long-lasting
  6. Sock liner or insole: Soft, comfortable and absorbent
  7. Shoelaces, buckles or Velcro fasteners: Whatever is best for your child. If their uniform allows, then a pair of quality sports shoes (trainers) are great too. It's just recommended that you avoid un-adjustable slip-on shoes.

When is it time for a new pair of shoes?

If your child complains about their feet feeling uncomfortable or sore, or you notice that their feet look squashed when the shoes come off, then it's definitely time to check the fit.

It's also time for a new pair of shoes when:

  • Your child's toes are touching the end of the shoe
  • The tread on the bottom of the shoe is worn down and slippery and/or the heel is badly worn down
  • The shoes are very scuffed or have holes

At the end of the day, a well-fitting shoe helps children make leaps and bounds – literally and figuratively.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 30 December 2019

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