The New Shoe Review is published quarterly by Kawartha Total Foot Care Centre chiropodist Nadine Webster. It features helpful unbiased reviews on the latest footwear styles and how they suit different needs for optimal foot health.
Getting ready for back to school includes shopping for nice new shoes for our little ones. We want them to look good of course but they must be comfortable and able to hold up to endless activity. I was very excited to come across the Clark’s Kids line at Bigley Shoes. They are one of only ten stores launching this line into Canada. Watch the sizing as the UK sizes are a half size smaller. There is a wide selection of colours and styles from cute little “first walkers,” boots, dress, casual, and even shoes that have those blinking lights kids love so much. They are made with leather uppers and liners for breathability and firm soles which flex at the toes but are nice and stable overall − not too soft or flimsy. The other wonderful thing is that they are available in half sizes and with up to four different widths. This can help ensure a perfect fit. Clark’s also has a unique measuring system which includes measuring around the foot for girth to help locate size. As with adult shoe fitting you must still check the fit once the shoes are on and look at several things while your child is standing:
- Fit to the bigger foot after measuring both.
- Make sure there is a thumb’s width of room from the longest toe (not always the big toe) to the end of the shoe. With these shoes you can usually feel where their toes are if they “wiggle” them, but another trick that can help is to take the liner out of the shoe (most come out) and see where your child’s foot lands when they stand on the insole. Length/fit should be checked every three months as children can grow a half size or more in that time.
- Check that the width is not too snug. It also helps to shop for shoes later in the day when feet will be a bit wider and to wear the type of foot covering that ordinarily would be used with that particular shoe (ie. a thick vs. thin sock or leotard). Shoes should always be worn with socks.
- Check depth and wiggle room and make sure the little toe doesn’t feel pinched. Look for a nice rounded (not pointy) toe box shape.
- Check that the sides do not rub on or irritate the ankles.
- Check that the shoe grips the heel well and is not slipping and that the shoe is secured on properly (ties/straps). It should not gape at the back or sides and you should not be able to fit a finger down behind the heel.
Make sure you get a professional fitter who is familiar with children’s shoes to help guide you, but listen to what your little end consumer has to say as well since they have to wear them and should be able to walk around comfortably. A shoe should not have to be “broken in” otherwise it is likely not a good fit. Avoid buying them more than a half to full size bigger to allow for “growing room.” They won’t last forever but they are an important investment that needs to fit well. Passing down used shoes is also not ideal for little growing feet.
We usually have our children’s eyes and teeth checked but not their developing feet. We know lots of adults with foot problems but don’t stop to think that these problems start in our youth and may even be preventable. Keeping our children in properly fitting footwear is the first step in helping to protect their feet and preventing problems from developing. Just like flossing and brushing help prevent gum and tooth decay, proper shoes will help prevent foot and nail problems.
Remember our Kawartha Total Foot Care Centre staff and chiropodists (foot specialists) are always here to help your child with any problems, concerns or questions you may have about current pain or gait (walking pattern) or for a general foot health exam and education to make sure your child’s foot health is on the right track.
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