Time to purchase those back-to-school shoes. And let’s be honest, a trip to the shoe store with Jr. can be a whirlwind experience. Maybe even the F5 Twister kind. Here’s some pointers from Morynn Marx, Certified Pedorthist and mother of three, to help eliminate some of the hassle and get your child into the right shoe.
Getting the Right Fit
When it comes to finding the right shoe for your kid, the biggest thing is getting the correct size, says Morynn. You want to make sure there is enough room between the longest toe and the front of the shoe (about the length of a thumbnail). Remember, it’s better to have the shoes a little big than a little small. Because kid’s feet do grow quickly—sometimes seemingly overnight—you need to check often to make sure they still have enough toe room. Blisters are often an indication the shoe is too small.
Flexibility Is Important
Shoes should have some flexibility to allow the foot to move and function naturally. A shoe that flexes at the ball of the feet is important as kids are usually running and jumping and need to have a wide range of motion in the foot.
You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing
Avoid shoes with too much cushioning. There are thousands of receptors on the bottom of the foot sending signals to the brain. Excessive cushioning can confuse or blind those receptors. Also, watch out for shoes with a heel rise (unless directed by a doctor) as this can put excessive pressure on the toes.
Hand-me-downs? Yay or Nay?
My kids have definitely worn hand-me-downs,” says Morynn. Of course, it’s important to look at the shoe to see make sure it’s not too worn. Certain shoes hold up much better than others, specifically those with a thin, firm sole. Kids may outgrow those kinds of shoes before they outwear them, where a softer sole tends to break down faster.
Keeping Shoes Fresh
When it comes to controlling footwear funk, Morynn suggests avoiding cotton socks since the material tends to trap moisture. Instead, opt for moisture wicking socks made from polyester or wool blends. Also, if the shoes allow it, throw them in the washing machine and let them air dry. Morynn says this is a great solution when spot washing just won’t cut it.
- Feet swell throughout the day, so if you can, shop for your kid’s shoes later on.
- Bring in your child’s old pair of shoes so the CPED or fit-expert can look for unusual wear patterns.
- Switch up your kid’s footwear. If you let shoes “rest” for a day, it will help them spring back and retain their shape.