Daniel shares a great tip and our selection of the best school shoes for your kids and teenagers.
Did you know that, on average, kids spend a whopping 8400 hours in their school shoes? As their feet are still developing, wearing the right school shoe is pivotal to children’s long-term foot health. That has long been recognised, but the thinking behind what makes a good shoe has changed. The latest research in footwear goes against what we have traditionally recommended over the past 30 years. Some shoe manufacturers have really come to the party, while others have been slow to change. In this report, we’ll dive into what you should look for in a school shoe, and give some examples of how to meet your child’s needs. (You may be surprised).
- Make sure the shoe is lightweight
When buying a school shoe, try to go as light as possible. A big, bulky, heavy shoe can have a negative effect on your child’s gait (walking pattern) and interfere with the shoe’s ideal function. The weight of their shoes can significantly affect children’s activity levels and their willingness to participate in physical activities. We have found that putting a child into a lighter shoe encourages his or her walking and running — to the point that the child’s parents often tell us it is almost as if they have a different child. Keep in mind that the body weight of a child is significantly less than an adult’s, yet the weight of a traditional school shoe compares to an adult shoe. It is not surprising that a child feels a sense of freedom with a lighter shoe.
- Support is not as critical as we once thought
Recent studies have shown that in shoes with a very firm heel counter and with a lot of support, the foot still moves somewhat independently, although this support is not as important as we once thought. A lot of the shoes recommended here allow the foot to function with minimal support. This is a much better option over the long term as it helps to switch on the child’s nervous system, improving balance and coordination, and helps to strengthen the foot.
If a child has excessive foot misalignment, or experiences pain, or pronates (rolls in) excessively, you may feel they need extra support. I have included a range of shoes with a little extra support that are still light and great for promoting activity. The main brand I suggest in this case is Ascent as they provide effective support, but are still lightweight compared to other similar styles on the market. These shoes are also great for any child who wears an orthotic.
- The shoe doesn’t need too much cushioning
Excessive cushioning will make the shoe heavier and interfere with proprioception. This is the body’s ability to give feedback to the brain. Less soft stuff between the ground and your child’s foot will increase proprioception, which will help with coordination, balance, and will increase strength in the foot. We have seen countless examples in our clinic of parents who are concerned by their child’s ‘clumsiness’ when walking. We reduce the amount of cushioning in the shoe and the child’s level of coordination improves enormously, which will help promote ideal development.
- See a podiatrist if you’re not sure!!!
So all of this advice is great but if your child is having pain or you’re not sure where your child fits or what they need it can be best to get a professional to have a look. At Alternative Foot Solutions we do child assessments all the time. We have two locations our CBD practice Sydney 80727278 and our Manly Vale Practice 99070144.
Great Kids’ Shoes
Vivo Primus School K
A great, super-light shoe for younger school kids or preschoolers. Made by Vivo — who make minimalist shoes — these feel pretty close to bare feet, but provide protection from rough surfaces. I own a pair of the adult version and love them. We’ve seen massive improvement in kids who wear these, particularly in younger school kids, as the shoes improve the wearer’s balance and coordination.
Where to buy: www.vivo.com.au
Vivo Primus School J
This great, super-light shoe has the features of the Vivo Primus School K and is for ages approximately eight years and up.
Where to buy: https://www.vivobarefoot.com/au
Bobux KP Desert Boot Black
A great little boot for pre-schoolers and kindy kids, this has a little more cushioning than the Vivos but is still very light. These are very popular with mums in our clinic.
Where to buy: www.bobux.com.au or shoes and socks
A great shoe, particularly if your child is wearing orthotics or needs extra support. The shoe is a little heavier than the others, but Ascent has done a great job keeping their shoes light with support. Ascent has definitely moved with the times and combines a school shoe with a sports shoe really well.
Where to buy: Athlete’s Foot
Ascent Apex Max 3
A great shoe, particularly if your child is an adolescent, is wearing orthotics, or needs extra support. The shoe is a little heavier than the others, but as mentioned above, Ascent has kept their shoes light while providing support, and does a great job of combining a school shoe with a sports shoe.
Where to buy: Athletes Foot
Cost: $129.95 – $149.95
Vivo WYN J
A great minimalist shoe that’s super lightweight for younger girls up to late teens, and with a more feminine appeal.
Where to buy: https://www.vivobarefoot.com/au
Vivo RA J
This is a very good, minimalist leather shoe that is great for older kids and adults. Once again, the shoe design is very close to bare feet and so it helps from a proprioceptive and foot strengthening perspective, which is particularly important while kids grow.
Where to buy: www.vivobarefoot.com/au
So all of this advice is great but if your child is having pain or you’re not sure where your child fits or what they need it can be best to get a professional to have a look. At Alternative Foot Solutions we do child assessments all the time. We have one location our Manly Vale Practice.