One of the simplest investments in our children’s health is proper footwear.
Footwear options vary in quality, support and appearance. But sometimes the cutest shoes offer the worst support for your growing child’s feet. The struggle is in finding supportive shoes that are also kid-approved.
Next Time You Shop For Shoes, Keep These Tips In Mind
- Children’s feet change with age.
- Infants do not need shoes and being in bare feet or socks allows their foot to develop.
- The foot is made up of 26 bones designed to support the entire body. The structure develops fully by age 2, but the bones don’t finish hardening until 18 years of age.
- Never use hand-me-down footwear. This can cause gait problems, callouses and discomfort.
- Children wear through the heels or toes of their shoes more quickly than they outgrow them. If you notice uneven wear patterns, that may indicate an alignment problem.
- Take your child along when you are shopping for shoes!
- The AAP recommends a flexible, non-skid or skid-resistant sole known as a “pre-walking shoe.” For instance, the main focus here is warmth and protection. Remember to allow your child plenty of barefoot time to develop the intrinsic muscles of the foot.
- The best shoe is a light-weight shoe made of a sturdy material that can be fastened on easily. Similarly, shoes that accommodate varying widths are best. talk to your pediatrician or physical therapist if you are worried about your child’s foot alignment.
- The focus at this stage is shock absorption, support and protection. Choosing the right type of shoe for the right activity is important. A flip flop is fine for a trip to the pool, but sneakers are a better fit for the playground or a soccer game. Look for something flexible, with ventilation, room to grow and a small arch support.