Tips From a Wichita Podiatrist on How to Choose Children’s Shoes

Appropriate footwear for kids changes with each phase of childhood. Wearing the proper shoes is critical for the correct development of their foot structure and the body’s overall posture. At Central Kansas Podiatry Associates, Dr. Weaver and our team will gladly assess your child’s feet and help you both take steps in the right direction by knowing how to choose children’s shoes for every stage of growth. 

What to Look for in Children’s Shoes

From birth to approximately 1 year old, shoes aren’t necessary, even for beginning walkers, as the main function of shoes is to protect the feet from injuries. In fact, the American Podiatric Medical Association advises that parents let babies simply remain barefooted or wear socks so the foot’s musculoskeletal system can properly form and gain function without restriction. In this way, the feet develop strength, and the toes have the ability to grasp. 

Active toddlers may need a little support, but not as much as you might think. They benefit from shoes that are soft, flexible, and properly fitted with a toe box that has room for growth and space for the toes to wiggle freely. 

As your child grows, change their footwear. Shoes should have a stiff heel counter, cushioned insole, and built-in arch, with flexibility at the ball of the foot. Sneakers are usually a good choice, and high tops may benefit kids with weak or sprain-prone ankles.

Proper Fitting Shoes Ensures Your Child’s Foot Health

When choosing new footwear for your child, have them stand up to accurately measure their feet. Remember: it’s totally common for feet to be two different sizes, so make sure shoes are fitted to accommodate the largest foot.

  • A good-fitting shoe has about a half-inch of room between the toes and tip, which is about the width of an adult’s thumb. Have your child wiggle their toes to make sure they’re not cramped or restricted. 
  • While wearing their usual socks, ask your child to walk around the store several times. 
  • Then, remove shoes and socks and check for redness or irritation that indicates friction or shoe pressure. Your child might not understand that tightness isn’t normal, so spotting these physical signs is important. 

Since children quickly outgrow their shoes, check their feet regularly for blisters and irritation. Often, they’ll remove their shoes if they’re uncomfortable or too tight. 

It’s never too early to schedule a pediatric podiatry appointment with our Wichita office. Regular examinations diagnose certain foot deformities early, enabling treatment through corrective shoes, braces, or casts.

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