Here are our tips to make sure your kids’ shoes will go the distance this year.
Overwhelmed with the variety, price range, or – if you have a budding fashionista – whether they’re cool? Here are our tips to make sure your kids’ shoes will go the distance this year.
Kids need firm and supportive shoes. The bones in their feet don’t fuse together properly until puberty. Their feet can also lack muscle strength and their bones can be prone to hypermobility, which means they have more flexible movement in their joints.
So, to help protect growing feet, firm and supportive shoes are a must. A good pair will help prevent problems developing, such as flat feet, sore knees, shin splints and even back pain.
How the shoe fits is critical. Dr Daniel Poratt, Auckland University of Technology programme leader in podiatry, recommends using a Brannock Device (a metal ruler you place your foot in) to measure the length and width of your child’s feet.
If the store doesn’t have the device, ask your child to raise their big toe (while wearing the shoe) and put your thumb on the tip of the toe. If there’s a thumb width gap between your child’s big toe and the end of the shoe, then the length is about right.
Dr Poratt also recommends checking the shoe’s flexibility. To test this, pick it up, and bend it by pushing the toe upwards. If it’s a good shoe, it’ll bend at the ball of the foot, but no further. That said, make sure it’s not too bendy — if it is, it won’t be supportive enough.
We’ve seen shoes advertised for as low as $6, but will they last the distance and be comfortable to wear? It all depends on how they’re made. Keep these four things in mind when you’re weighing up what pair to buy:
It’s not just when your child’s toes are touching the end of the shoe that it’s time to get a bigger size. Other signs it’s time to upgrade are:
If the school’s uniform policy allows them, sneakers can be a good choice. So long as the sneaker isn’t super flexible, quality sports shoes are very supportive and light, and help keep the foot stable.