Help Your Kids Start School With The Right Shoes
Every August, parents get their kids new shoes so they can look sharp on their first day of school! But did you know that children’s feet have specific needs and requirements that must be considered when fitting them with a new pair of shoes?
Kids don’t fully develop their foot structures until around the age of 8. As a result, younger kids usually appear to be flat-footed. At this age, their feet are generally hypermobile, over-pronated, and are wider when weight-bearing.
As a result, children should not be treated as adults when fitting them with proper footwear.
Velcro vs. Laces
Shoes must be secured properly for safety and function so the type of closure is very important. Aside from slip-on shoes, the two main options out there are velcro and laces. Unless your kid can properly lace up his/her own shoes, stick with velcro and transition to the second pair of shoes with laces that he/she can learn with at home.
Why? Because laces left undone can become a hazard to your child. If the lace bows don’t look “cool”, they can still be tied securely and tucked under the tongue for the designed look.
The Next Step
Since kids’ feet are not as strong and developed as adult feet, it is much easier for an improper shoe to overpower and block the natural motions of the joints in the feet. Our Fitting Experts often see cases of stiff, oversized shoes (which do not allow natural foot function) leading to pain in the feet, ankles, knees, and legs.
When we fit kids in our stores, we always make sure that we are not limiting the feet. Also, keep in mind that kids do not always possess the right vocabulary to describe specific points of discomfort or pain.
This is why it is extra important to get them fitted properly all of the time.
Grow into them – A Dangerous Phrase
Shoes should fit your kid’s feet for the size they are right now, not in the future.
Why? Because a good shoe has a specifically designed flex point that is intended to align with the natural flex point of the foot.
A shoe (even a good one) that is too large will have a flex point in the incorrect spot, forcing the foot to bend at a point that is biomechanically incorrect. This can cause pain, discomfort, and other future problems. A shoe that is too long also becomes a tripping hazard and is dangerous for your child.
Beware of knock-off shoes
Knock-off shoes may look the same as branded ones but won’t have the same internal structure. In order to get the price down, these manufacturers compromise on the materials and technology.
The result is a shoe that bends and flexes in all of the wrong places.
How we do things differently
Just as with our adult customers, our Kintec Fitting Experts perform a full gait analysis of your child’s feet, get to know their activity levels, and review previous foot injuries and pains. We discuss all that we see with you, the parent, so you have a clear understanding of your child’s feet.
Our Certified Pedorthists are also experts in biomechanics, with thousands of hours training specifically in human kinetics, lower body biomechanics, and custom foot orthotics. There is no one better trained to help!
Three important points look for when buying kids shoes:
- A narrow heel to hug the hindfoot and prevent rubbing
- A wide toe box to accommodate the expanding forefoot
- Proper flex point to allow natural foot flexion
If you have any questions, please call a Kintec location near you to talk with our Fitting Experts. Remember, the gait analysis and the advice is always free of charge.
And be sure to check out our full selection of kids shoes here!
By Graham Archer, Certified Pedorthist, Kinesiologist, and VP of Pedorthics at Kintec. He has over 14 years of experience seeing patients and was the former President of the Pedorthic Association of Canada.