Take the headache out of school shoe shopping

Back to school, it’s that time of year again. You’ve almost made it through the struggle that is eight weeks of school holidays and you remember the kids need new school shoes. Most families find school shoe shopping to be quite the headache; from uncomfortable shoes to ‘ugly’ styles it is far from a relaxing task, so we’re here to help. 

Your child’s feet are one of their most important assets. Carrying them around all day, allowing them to run, jump, climb and simply enjoy being a kid. However, their little feet are much more vulnerable to ‘life’ then ours as adults, which is why poor fitting or poor quality shoes can be a real issue for developing feet.

Below are our top tips to getting it right:

Wait until the end of the day 

  • It is no myth that feet swell throughout the day and can increase in size. Try on shoes later in the day to avoid buying too small or narrow.

Measure both feet 

  • Don’t fall into the trap of ‘knowing’ what size you or your child’s feet are. Always get the sales assistant to measure. The length of their foot is only one small part of getting the correct fit and each shoe manufacturer will vary in their sizing. 
  • Ensure that BOTH feet are measured – it is very common to have feet different sizes or widths and it is important to fit the larger foot, not squish the smaller foot in to the shoe.
  • Measuring the feet MUST be done while standing up. Do not measure sitting down as this will give a false length and width reading. 
  • A good foot measurement will have three readings: length (heel to toe), arch length (heel to big toe joint) and width. 

**Remember: these measurements are your foot size, NOT the size shoes which you need. 

Ensuring the perfect fit 

    • Try on shoes with the appropriate socks – if possible bring your school socks with you.
    • Length = Approximately one thumb width in front of longest toe (not always the big toe) no less in growing children (check while standing) 
    • Heel fit = Need to be able to place one Index finger down each side near the ankle bones. More than this will mean the shoe is likely to slip and rub.  
    • Width = Run thumb across forefoot applying a mild pinching pressure – ensure the material does not bunch or buckle up.  
    • Good quality shoes will always provide half sizes and alternate widths to ensure the best fit possible. 

Ability to be adjusted 

  • Shoes with the ability to be adjusted are a must. This may be through laces, Velcro or buckles. Slip on shoes do not provide the appropriate support or stability, particularly once the material stretches. 
  • Laces provide the best support by far as you can secure the midfoot and heel nice and snug. 

ELASTIC SHOE LACES! For young children laces are not always an option, however elastic shoe laces are life savers, providing similar support however still allowing your child to slip their shoes on without undoing the laces or having to tie them up.

Invest in your child’s foot health 

  • A good quality shoe with a supportive foot bed, firm heel counter and good shock absorption will make all the difference to your child’s growing feet. 
  • Foot pain due to poor footwear is one of the most common issues we see as podiatrists and is easily corrected. 
  • Have your child’s feet assessed yearly to check how they are developing and any potential biomechanical issues which may contribute to pain or injuries arising. 

If you have any concerns over your child’s feet or they are suffering foot, leg or knee pain, a visit to FNQ Podiatry is a must. Our experienced Podiatrists will run your child through a range of examinations to assess their overall foot health and function and provide appropriate treatment options to get them back and running pain free. To book an appointment call 4045 5749 or go online today.


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