During back-to-school season and throughout the year, one of the most important purchases on any parent's shopping list should be a pair of proper fitting shoes for their child. For many parents, shoe shopping may seem easier than a pop-quiz in gym class, but several important factors should be considered:
- Children's Feet Change With Age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child's feet grow.
- Shoes That Don't Fit Properly Can Aggravate the Feet. Always measure a child's feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation.
- Never Hand Down Footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn't mean it will fit another the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete's foot and nail fungus.
- Examine the Heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
- Take Your Child Shoe Shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a kid have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
- Always Buy for the Larger Foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
- Buy Shoes That Do Not Need a “Break-In” Period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your kid try on shoes with socks or tights, if that's how they'll be worn.