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Jun 20

APMA Staff

How to Choose Your Kid's Shoes

by APMA Staff

How to Choose Your Kid’s Shoes

All small shoes are not created equal.

As adults, we frequently fret over footwear. Which heel goes with that new skirt suit? Is it alright to wear cowboy boots to the game? Is it worth looking into custom orthotics?

We ask far fewer questions when it comes to our kids' footwear. It's not like they're training for a marathon or competing in the Olympics, right? Any old pair should do.

Wrong. The incorrect pair of shoes can cause lasting damage to your child's feet. Here are our top tips for picking the best footwear for your child.

1.Constant Replacement

When was the last time you replaced your favorite pair of running shoes? Odds are it's been some time. While this isn’t recommended, it's understandable—shoes are expensive, and your feet aren't undergoing drastic changes year after year. 

Childrens' feet, however, grow and change every day. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society recommends replacing a child's shoes every three to four months.  This is due to the rapid growth tiny toes go through. A toddler under 16 months of age, for instance, will "grow more than one-half a foot size every 3 months."

Fit is important. Young feet are impressionable and easily prone to ingrown toenails and hammertoe. Ask your doctor for the proper depth, length, and width you should look for in a child’s shoe. Don’t just guess!

2. Have One Dependable Pair

It’s fine if your toddler has a variety of shoes for different occasions. However, he or she must have one perfectly fitting, sturdy pair of shoes for everyday use. Make sure each shoe has rubber soles for safety.

Each type of shoe should only be used in the proper environment. Sturdy sneakers are great for general play, but might be too warm to wear by the pool. Sandals, meanwhile, are great for the beach but don’t have enough support to protect your child’s support while running or playing games. Using the wrong shoes for an activity could exacerbate any foot abnormalities your child already has.

3. Avoid Hand-Me-Downs

Is it okay for little Laurie to wear Hannah’s hand-me-downs? If those shoes were rarely used, sure! Think church or party shoes. 

Shabby well-worn shoes, though? No. This is because shoes that endure heavy use shape themselves to a child's growing foot. When a child uses a shoe that is already worn, their feet do not have the opportunity to shape the shoe, which is then unlikely to provide the proper amount of support. The same thing goes from second-hand shoes from thrift stores. Check out the toe and heel areas for any uneven wear or tearing.

Have any more questions about your child’s footwear? Visit our clinic in Edmonds, WA

The trained specialists at Ankle & Foot of Edmonds can answer all your questions. Call 425-775-6996, or complete our online form to set up an appointment.


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