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Guide to Children's Shoes

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 20 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Children's Footwear; Newborns; Fitting;

The feet that we are born with have a very long and important journey in front of them so it is important to maintain good health and protection in the first years of our lives.

Footcare and Your New Born

Newborn babies have very delicate feet as the bones, muscles, tendons and cartilage are still very pliable at this stage. Due to the delicate nature of the tissues, they are more susceptible to damage and extra care should be taken to avoid damage.

It is not advisable for a new born to wear shoes. Bootees, loose socks, baby-grows or bare feet are adequate footwear as long as they are loose fitting, as tight clothing can restrict movement and damage the tiny bones in a baby’s foot. These items allow the baby to kick his or her feet, which encourages muscle tone and movement to develop. As long as the feet are kept warm, no shoes should be advised as these may compromise the early development of the feet.

Choosing Shoes for Your Child

Until your child has established balance and can walk a few steps unaided with bare feet, there is no need to purchase a proper pair of shoes. Once walking is accomplished, make sure feet are measured by a trained professional, who measures both length and width of the foot, to ensure the correct sized shoe is purchased. Try and find a shop that stocks half sizes as often this slight growth is enough to warrant a pair of shoes, and a full size change will be too much.

Getting the Correct Fitting

Often both adults and children will have one foot bigger than the other, so make sure the shoe fitter measures both feet and takes the measurements of the largest foot as a guide. Incorrect fitting can result in pain, sores and deformity developing, especially if the shoe is worn for long periods of time. This will not encourage your child to walk and may result in them stopping the activity altogether.

How Often to Have a Child's Feet Measured?

Children should have their feet measured every six to eight weeks as this is the time it takes for some children’s feet to grow another size or half size. It can be quite expensive in the early years, but is very important for protecting the health of your children’s feet reducing the chances of problems in later life.

When new shoes are purchased, especially for school, it is advisable to encourage the child to wear them around the house for a few hours prior to them being worn at school all day. This will allow the material to ‘break in’ and relax and soften around your child’s foot. Wearing new shoes all day can be very uncomfortable and may affect your child’s performance during lessons.

Teaching Your Child Good Foot Hygiene

It is never too early to teach children about the importance of foot hygiene and general foot care. They should be taught the correct method of cutting toenails, and should be taught of the importance of drying thoroughly especially between the toes and of the consequences such as athlete’s foot developing.

They should be taught how to identify common foot ailments such as verrucas or athlete’s foot and that they should tell their parents if any of these symptoms occur.As they approach adolescence, they should be educated on the need for increased foot hygiene as the sweat glands excrete more during this time. They should be taught of the need to change socks regularly and to alternate footwear so that bacteria are not permitted to build up.Cotton socks should be worn by all as they allow the feet to breathe and reduce the chances of bacterial build up also.

Foot care and shoe selection are extremely important issues in children. Correct fitting and education is essential to protect feet from potential damage and complications in the future.

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