Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finding the Right Back-to-School Shoes

Preparing for a new school year means back-to-school shopping for the usual supplies, clothes and shoes. Shoes should be one of the most important items on any back-to-school shopping list. While many youngsters many want to find the latest and greatest or coolest shoes, parents should consider some important factors on shopping for the right shoes. The American Podiatric Medical Association put together these tips on shoe shopping. 
  1. Children’s feet change with age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child’s feet grow.
  2. Shoes that don’t fit properly can aggravate the feet. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation.
  3. Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
  4. Examine the heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
  5. Take your child shoe shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
  6. Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
  7. Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.
Not only is finding the right shoe size important, the overall structure of a shoe is critical. A good shoe should have a stiff heel that cannot be easily squeezed or bent. The toe box of the shoe should bend flexibly when your child walks. And the shoe should have a solid midsole that should never twist in the middle. 

Properly fitting and structured shoes can help children avoid years of pain and future ailments. Click here for a list of children’s shoes that have been awarded APMA’s Seal of Acceptance

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