What Footwear Should Your Child Be Wearing?
Determining the best shoes for kids is a constant challenge as new brands are always emerging and your kids’ feet are ever growing. When it comes to our little ones, there is a lot of information to take in about what may be best for them. Today, we’re discussing footwear and how it can impact the development of your child, along with recommendations for selecting the best shoes for your little one. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to help with any of your questions.
Barefoot is Best
According to Tracy Byrne, a child that is learning how to walk will receive important sensory information from the soles of their feet as they touch the floor or ground. While footwear is designed to help protect the feet from injury, they are also known for increasing the likelihood of foot problems and deformities such as adolescent bunions.
If possible, going barefoot is best for your child when they are in a safe space. Try to wear shoes as little as possible as your child is developing, this will allow their foot to develop properly.
Simplifying Shoe Buying for Kids
As children learn to walk, they should be wearing soft soled shoes or go barefoot as much as possible. This allows them to feel and touch with their feet along with developing proper muscle strength in the feet/toes. As your child gets better at walking, a firmer sole shoe can be worn.
When it comes to sizing your child’s shoes, we think going to a professional is best. They can measure for both length and width, ensuring your child has adequate space in their shoes. Due to children growing so rapidly, it is best that your child gets new shoes every few months, neglecting to do so can lead to foot deformities such as bunions later in life. Shoes that are too tight on the foot can make walking difficult, and increase the risk of things such as ingrown toenails.
Selecting Shoes For Your Little One
According to the Better Health Channel, the best shoes for kids should:
- Be a comfortable fit both in length and width, leaving ½” room for growth spurts. We recommend measuring the length of your child’s foot and comparing that to the shoe manufacture’s size chart as each manufacture’s sizing may vary.
- Have plenty of room for your child’s toes to spread out or splay.
- Have a flat, flexible sole (make sure it bends near the toe).
- Have a wider front, matching the natural shape of your child’s feet.
- Have laces, straps or other fasteners to prevent slipping or movement of the foot.
Shoes do not have to be expensive either, children outgrow shoes. Look for shoes that meet the criteria above regardless of price.
Sizing Tips for the Best Shoes for Kids
Growing up, my parents would have me stand in the new shoes and press down on the tip of the shoe with their thumb to make sure there is adequate growing room. This might now always be possible. If the shoes don’t allow for this, remove the shoes, remove the insole from the shoe and have your child stand on the insole with their heel and arch in the proper position. This will allow you to easily determine if your child has the ½” recommended room at the end of their toes in order to buy the best shoes for your kids.
Other Useful Sizing Tips
- If your child is over 80lbs, consider buying adult shoes. This might cost more but the infrastructure of the shoe will be better suited for the weight of the wearer.
- To find the best shoes for kids, measure both feet independently. Often one foot is bigger than the other.
- Measure your kids feet every 2-3 months to make sure you stay ahead of the growth spurts!
- Find brands that specialize in anatomically correct footwear for kids that are both grippy, durable, and support the natural placement of the toes while keeping them “grounded”. Brands we trust are SplayShoes.com, Plae, Keen, StrideRite.