Children spend around 30 hours a week in their school shoes, or more than 15,000 hours during their school years, so correctly fitted schools shoes are very important. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to problems in adulthood, such as ingrown toenails, corns and bunions, which may even require surgery later in life. Here are some tips for making the process of buying correctly fitted school shoes easier:
Here are 5 tips when looking for shoes to help you make the right choice for your kids:
1. A firm heel counter:
This is important because the heel acts as the support of the foot and must be held in a stable position so that it does not lean in (pronation) or out (supination) too much, possibly leading to pain and posture problems. If you can easily press in the sides of the heel, it is not providing enough support for the growing foot.
2. Fastening mechanism:
It is important to have laces or other fastening such as Velcro to hold the foot in place so it does not slip forward and cause the toes to scrunch and claw. This damages the front of the foot and can lead to the development of hammer-toes and clawed toes, which can become permanent.
Soles should be flexible, but only at the ball of the foot, not at the mid-point, and with sufficient cushioning. The sole should not be rigid, but nor should you be able to roll it up into a ball or bend it in half. A supportive sole must be robust enough for walking, running and jumping.
4. Good Quality Material:
A good quality shoe is made from a strong rubber sole, good cushioning for comfort, and leather upper for support and longevity. Leather is a breathable and water-resistant material, which is important for active, sweaty feet. If feet cannot breathe, there is an increased risk of conditions such as fungal infections – not to mention a bad smell.
5. Correct Sizing:
Don’t be tempted to buy shoes that are too big in order to allow your children to ‘grow into’. Shoes that are too big are more likely to cause blisters from the foot slipping around in the shoes, scuffed heels or clawed toes from trying to keep the shoes on and secure. Also, always have
shoes fitted to both length AND width. All good quality school shoes will have various sizes available.
Some noteworthy brands currently on the market include Clarke’s, Ascent and Alpha.