Parents so often worry about their kid's teeth, eyes, and most other parts of the body, but don't worry so much over the developing feet. As numerous adult foot problems can have their beginnings when people are young, consideration to footwear in children can minimize the risk of these issues in adults.
Significance of the footwear to the child:
Badly fitting children's shoes can cause many conditions in adults such as hammer toes, ingrown toenails, foot corns, calluses and bunions. Given the high level of pain and discomfort that these conditions can cause, it is obviously logical to attempt to prevent these conditions by ensuring that the child's footwear is fitted appropriately. Foot disorders in children are generally possible to avoid.
Fitting shoes for the child:
The most important factor in shoes for a kid is that they fit. Ideally, this means that shoes are fitted by somebody who has had some special training in the fitting of children's footwear.
Tips for the fitting of children's shoes:
* Children should have their feet measured around every 3 months (thus ensuring the need for new shoes as needed).
* Generally, for footwear to be adequately fitted, there ought to be a thumb width between the end of the footwear and the end of the longest toe.
* When looking at the bottom (sole) of the shoe, it should be somewhat straight (not curved in too much) - the foot is straight, so the shoe ought to be straight.
* The attachment mechanism (laces, velcro, buckles) must hold the heel firmly in the back of the footwear (the foot shouldn't be able to slide forward in the shoe).
* the heel counter (back area of the shoe) should be robust and stable.
* the shoe should be flexible across the ball of the foot, because this is where the foot bends.
* Leather and canvas are a better material - they are tougher and can breathe. Artificial materials usually do not breathe as well, except if they are of the 'open weave' type. Stay away from plastics.
* Check that the shoes have rounded toe boxes to allow the toes more room to move.
* Footwear shouldn't have to be "broken in". If they do, they can be either badly designed or badly fitted.
* An absorbent insole is helpful, as the foot can sweat a great deal - children are really active!
* Numerous retail stores focus on footwear for the child - use them!
* Fitting shoes adequately in adults is also just as crucial
Three tips for checking the child's footwear:
There should be a thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe = length is correct.
You ought to be able to pinch the upper of the footwear between the thumb and forefinger (this could depend on the character of the materials) = width is correct.
Does the footwear fit snugly around the heel and instep? How stable is the shoe when trying to 'pull off' the shoe? = great fit.
There are plenty of good resources on Podiatry Arena on Children's shoes.