Choosing Children's Shoes: 4 Things to Consider
The beginning of school, after a growth spurt, when the old ones are worn or too small—these are times when your child needs a new pair of shoes. Whether you shop at your local Payless, Baby Hippo in Queens, or Piccoli Passi in Plainview, NY, there are four main things to keep in mind when choosing children’s shoes.
Kids Grow Quickly, So Have Their Feet Measured
You may be able to wear a pair of shoes for a year or more, but your child’s feet can change from month to month. Every time you go looking for a new pair, measure their feet again, or have a knowledgeable salesperson do it if you can’t understand that metal sliding gauge. It is important to know their correct size, at least as a starting point.
However, shoe manufacturers and styles differ, and a size 9 in one shoe may be too small in another. Never judge just by the number. Have your child try on the shoe and then check it for fit and ask them if anything hurts or pinches. The shoe should feel good right from the start.
Price and Quality May—or May Not—Go Hand in Hand
Don’t think that expensive shoes are automatically better, or that every name brand style is better made than an unknown one. Check the construction yourself:
- You shouldn’t be able to pinch in the back of the shoe at the sides. It needs to be stable to support your child’s heel.
- When you try to fold the shoe up at the ends, the bend should correspond to where your child’s toes bend, and the rest of the sole should be fairly sturdy and stiff.
- If you grab the toe and heel and try to twist it, the shoe should resist and stay straight. Shoes that twist do not provide enough stability.
Look for breathable uppers (leather, canvas, or mesh), padded insoles, traction (but not “sticky” surfaces) on the sole, and low heels—or none at all for toddlers.
Get the Right Shoe at the Right Age
Babies don’t need shoes—just warm booties or socks as needed—and can even learn to walk without them. If the feet need protection once walking, a smooth sole to reduce friction, a higher top to stay on the foot better, and adequate room for the toes will be best for your toddler.
Once your child is older, style and fit are more important, as well as choosing shoes based on their activity. There are many good styles—from sandals to athletic shoes or hikers—that will give proper protection and support for your child’s feet and leave room to grow. Make sure they are breathable as well, since children’s feet often sweat a lot. Be especially careful when your child needs cleats for sports, as these shoe types are known for a tighter fit and could cause problems
Use Your Child’s Shoes to Detect Foot Problems
Check the wear on your child’s old shoes. Uneven wear can signal a gait problem or some other issue. If a certain pair causes blisters, calluses, ingrown toenails, or red pressure spots, try another. If you have trouble finding shoes that don’t irritate your son or daughter’s feet, give our office a call. Our expert podiatrists can detect whether there may be some underlying problem that is making your child’s foot hard to fit.
We want your children to be able to run, play and engage in sports if they wish without suffering from ingrown toenails, calluses, or other types of foot problems. Follow our suggestions above to find the best shoes, but if your child complains of pain, call Aadvanced Foot Care Associates at the office nearest you (Rego Park (718) 896-4433, Plainview (516) 822-9595, or Flushing (718) 969-2266) and come in for an appointment. Catching a problem early is key, so we can prescribe any treatment needed before the issue worsens. Put our staff’s 100-plus years of foot care know-how to work for you and your family.