Back-to-School Shoe Shopping Tips

With the Labor Day holiday coming up we’re getting a clear signal that summer vacation is coming to a close, and the sounds of school buses will soon be heard loud and clear again. Back-to-School shopping is a yearly tradition for school-aged children and parents. Besides the usual school supplies many parents also have a new pair of shoes on the shopping list. While it may seem easy to shop for new shoes 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 child 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 child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), well-fitting shoes not only reduce the instance of foot and ankle injuries in kids, but they also encourage physical activity, helping to decrease the likelihood of childhood obesity.

“If a child’s feet hurt, they will be far less likely to participate in outdoor sports and other activities that keep them moving and physically fit,” said APMA President Kathleen M. Stone, DPM. “With childhood obesity considered an epidemic today, it is vital that parents take just a few moments during this busy back-to-school shopping season to select a shoe that provides adequate support and fits properly. It is one of the easiest ways to keep a child pain-free and healthy.”

As First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign continues to bring the childhood obesity fight into the public eye, parents are encouraged more than ever to only purchase foot-friendly shoes that keep a child’s feet safe at home and on the playground.