Back to school shoes: Top tips for parents

Posted by Daniel Fitzpatrick on January 11, 2013

A new year is here and school will be starting before you know it. Growing feet have unique podiatry requirements, and considering the time kids spend in school shoes each day, it is important to buy them the right pair. Just like a child carrying a heavy pack impacts future back problems, proper footwear when growing reduces potential foot pain in later teen and adult life.

Special Offer

Back to school is expensive enough, so until school goes back we are offering free podiatry assessments for any child who attends school, so come in and get your feet and shoes checked by a professional podiatrist. This offer is only valid till the end of February 7, 2013, so don’t delay booking your appointment. Call us today on (02) 8966 9300 for this special offer.

 

1. Get feet measured

As a podiatrist I say it every time about buying shoes, and for school shoes it is especially important—always have your children’s feet properly measured. If the shoe shop you go to does offer to fit you, I suggest go somewhere that does. When being measured have your child stand up, and make sure the staff measure both width and length of the foot.

For a growing foot, bigger is better, so go up a full size from what the foot is measured so they can grow into them over the year.

If your child measures odd sizes I always recommend that you fit the bigger foot first and foremost and make do on the smaller foot.

2. What to look for in a school shoe?

A school shoe needs to be hardy to cope with the rigors of day-to-day wear, especially for boys. When testing the shoe, squeeze the heel and ensure it is firm. This part of the shoe is critical for providing support through the heel.

Next move halfway down and twist the shoe—it should be reasonably rigid through the middle. If it moves too much the arch of the foot can move and twist too freely. You must consider that a growing foot hasn’t yet developed the strength that an adult foot has, so rigidity through this area provides torsional support.

Then finally move down to where the big toe joint will sit and the shoe should naturally bend there—this is the only area the shoe should really bend, allowing for natural movement which assists walking and a natural gait.

Also note the heel height should not exceed 3cm. There has been a growing trend toward school shoes for girls with an elevated heel—I strongly suggest you avoid this for any school aged female.

3. What brands should you consider?

We always get asked, and as a podiatrist I generally recommend the top brands for school shoes are Clark’s, Roc Boots, and Ascent. There are other good brands, however I find these three are the most consistent in terms of durability and stability for growing feet, as well as being reasonably priced. However, if you find something that fits the criteria in point 2, you will have chosen wisely. If unsure, bring the shoe in and get us to check it for you—it only takes a couple of minutes and will give you peace of mind.

Clarks shoes

Roc Boots Australia

Ascent Footwear

 

4. Where should I go to buy school shoes?

Shoes & Sox and The Athlete’s Foot are the two chains that I normally recommend as a podiatrist. Their staff are well trained and they offer good exchange policies if we feel the shoes aren’t right. There are other good shoes shops around, but always ask about their return policy. And once again make sure they offer to measure your child’s foot.

5. Have your child checked by a podiatrist

If you unsure of anything, it is best to get a podiatrist to check your child and shoe choice, and then you know your on the right track.

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