As the last lazy days of summer give way to the back-to-school frenzy, we at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC know that on most parents’ to-do lists is a trip to the shoe store. While the styles have changed over the years one thing remains the same: well-made, properly fitting shoes are a must to protect the podiatric health of children. Below are some tips for ensuring your child starts off the new school year on the right foot:
- Ask the podiatrist. A checkup with one of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko can reveal clues about your child’s feet that may affect the shoes you choose. This is particularly important if your child has suffered a foot or ankle injury or has a chronic podiatric condition. The foot doctor can recommend styles and features in shoes that will give your young student greater comfort and support. Make an appointment at our Valley Stream (516-825-4070 ) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) office before you head to the store.
- Plan your shopping trip. The best time to shop for shoes is late in the day—that’s when feet are at their largest. Have your child wear or bring the type of socks they will typically wear with the shoes you are planning to buy.
- Measure up. Have both of your child’s feet measured professionally. To do this, the child should be standing up and bearing full weight on the foot. It is not uncommon to have one foot be bigger than the other. Shoes should fit the larger foot.
- Go strong. Look for durable materials in children’s footwear. The heel counter should be stiff and the insole well cushioned. A built-in arch is necessary to keep the foot properly positioned and this will help prevent heel pain. The front of the shoe should be flexible and bend at the point where your child’s toes bend when they walk. If your child has weak ankles, a high-top style may be a good choice.
- Get some wiggle room. The toe box of the shoe should be roomy enough that your child can freely flex all their toes. Make sure there is about an adult’s thumb width of space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe.
- Walk around. Have your child try on both shoes and spend enough time walking around the store to know that they are comfortable.
If you have additional questions about the right shoes for your child, don’t hesitate to contact us.