What to look for in a good pair of back to school shoes

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The back to school season kicks off in earnest, and as parents we are all looking for bargain hunts. Having fitted shoes for many years and also being a member of the British Society of Shoe Fitters below are some pointers to look for in getting your son or daughter a good pair of shoes.

  1. The upper part of the child's shoe should be made of leather, canvas, or the newer mesh materials. Children's feet perspire greatly, and the upper part of their shoes should be made of breathable materials. Leather or canvas allows the foot to breathe. Make sure the insole is made of absorbent material. You may want padded insoles. Avoid man made material, such as plastic as it is like suffocating the feet in a plastic bag and considering that they wear it for an average 8 hours a day the long term could be permanent damage to the feet.

  2. Avoid high heeled shoes; there are 3 reasons for this. First it reduces the possibility of the child getting a twisted ankle by running in the playground. Secondly, it can exacerbate conditions like pronation or supination. Every human displays a degree of pronation or supination, but in children it can be aggravated by wearing inappropriate high heeled shoes. Thirdly, high heels can cause the foot to slide forward, cramping the toes against the shoe.

  3. For a new pair of school shoes, if you cannot get your finger at the back without the child squeezing his or feet then you have bought the wrong size. A good pair of shoes will have this tolerance built into it so you don’t have to upsize to achieve this.

  4. Children are not meant to break into a new pair of shoes. If they do it is the wrong type of shoe for their feet and therefore should not be wearing it in the first place, because it can lead to long term damage.

  5. Get your child’s feet measured at least every 3 months, when parents come into my shop the first thing we ask is what it the child’s shoes size. We do this because we want the parents more involved in the awareness of their child’s feet development; Most parents are often surprised when they discover that their child’s shoe size has moved on 2 or more sizes since their last new pair.

I hope these tips will help you to make the right decision in getting your child the best pair of shoes you can afford. Thanks for taking interest in the proper development of your child's feet.

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society website.

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