School Shoes: How to find the perfect fit?

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Kids can spend more than eight hours a day in their school shoes and the right fit is imperative to reduce the risk of injury and pain in their growing bodies.

When you go shopping for your kids, are you overwhelmed by shoe choices? It’s tempting to go for the most adorable pair, but choosing the best shoe for your little boy or girl depends more on fit and function than on fashion. Making the effort to get a good fit helps develop their healthy feet for life.

“A good school shoe provides a stable home for immature bones,” says Charlotte Bodell, a podiatrist and spokesperson for the Australian Podiatry Association.

“Without that support, children are in danger of developing flat feet, sore knees, shin splints and even back pain. A good shoe that fits properly is important.”

Kids’ feet grow quickly and can change shape as well as size. Experts recommend doing a size check at these intervals:

  • One to three months up to the age of three.
  • Every four months up to the age of five.
  • Every six months until your child stops growing completely.
Here are 5 Steps to finding the correct fit for your child:
  • Give a gap: Make sure there’s a gap of about half the width of your thumb between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoe
  • Allow width: Make sure the shoes are wide and deep enough for your child’s foot. If you can see the outline of their foot, it’s not a good fit.
  • No pain: Your child should be comfortable in the shoes straight away, without feeling any pain or pressure points.
  • Shoe shop in the afternoon: Kids’ feet tend to swell throughout the day. Shop for shoes in the afternoon
  • Avoid the concept of “They will grow into them”: Don’t be tempted to buy a larger size your child can ‘grow into’. Shoes that fit well will support and protect vulnerable and growing feet. Buying shoes that are too big, can result in damaged and sore young feet!
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What to look for in school shoes?
  • Flexibility in the front. Pick up the shoe and try to bend it by pushing the toe upwards. A good shoe will bend at the ball of the foot but no further. Shoes should be easily bent in the arch.
  • Not too much flexibility. Shoes that bend all over or are easily twisted don’t provide enough support. They should only bend at the ball of the foot. If the sole isn’t very sturdy, it risks losing its support after a few weeks leading to increased strain on the feet and possibly pain.
  • A good school shoe will have a very small heel. While this may sound counterintuitive, a very low heel keeps your child’s foot in a neutral position. An entirely flat shoe can cause your child’s toes to ‘claw’ when walking. However, a trend of low to medium heels is present in school shoes, and although we all would like a bit of extra height, using heels on a daily basis shortens the calf muscle and modifies the gait, causing long-term damage to the feet.
  • Not too heavy. Heavy shoes can mean muscle pain and foot aches, especially for little people.
  • Plenty of toe room. Check that your child can wiggle their toes
  • Leather uppers last longer and allow your child’s feet to breathe.
  • The sock liner or insole should be soft, comfortable and made of an absorbent fabric to reduce sweating. You should be able to remove it easily, in case you need to replace it with an orthotic.
  • Shoe laces, buckles and Velcro are all equally good, but avoid slip-on shoes that can’t be adjusted. A school shoe requires good shock absorption just like a sports shoe, so its important that thin soles, commonly found in the trendy ballet flat style shoes, are avoided. This is harmful to the feet.


Complimentary backpack, posture and shoe check:

Here at Global Chiropractic we are very passionate about assisting our clients in reducing and relieving stress from their nervous system.

We are now offering free back pack, posture and shoe checks for children starting or returning to school. This will ensure your child is correctly fitted and ready to commence the school year in the best way possible. We are also happy to provide you recommendations in regards to choosing the right backpack for your child.

Call the practice on (03) 5444 3388 to book your complimentary check, or to find out more. We would love to help you and your family to achieve better health!

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