There are plenty of messages out there about what to put on your kids’ feet. TV ads, website videos, and shoe department displays use popular music, vivid images, and appealing words to convince you that brand, style, and color are the deciding factors. According to them, every girl needs pink athletic shoes with pumas on them, and boys need the same shoe styles that their favorite basketball players wear. We have another message: if you care about buying children’s shoes that are good for your kids’ feet, make three Fs—form, function, and fit—your main concerns.
By form, we mean the basic construction of the shoe. The best kids’ shoes share certain characteristics. They have adjustable closings (Velcro, laces, or straps and buckles) that can be loosened or tightened as needed. They have non-marking soles with good traction, and insoles that cushion the feet. The heel doesn’t buckle when pressed, the bottom of the shoe bends only where the toes bend and can’t be twisted, and the toes aren’t too narrow or pointed. Finally, the material lets the foot breathe and perspiration escape.
Function means that they fit the activity your child is doing. Babies learning to walk need something totally different on their feet than a teenager who likes to skateboard. Flip-flops may be okay on a beach or at the pool, but don’t buy them for everyday wear. If your child plays sports, choose footwear designed for safety and performance in that sport (cleats, high tops, etc.) Function can also refer to the way shoes support the arch, provide proper traction, or protect the feet.
The last—and maybe most important—thing to look for is fit. No shoe—no matter how stylish or well-constructed—is good for your child if it pinches, rubs, slides around, or otherwise irritates the foot. Follow our fitting tips so that toes can wiggle, heels are cradled, and tender skin is protected from blisters and ingrown toenails caused by friction and pressure.
Still confused about what shoes would be right for your child? Call the office of Yuko Miyazaki, DPM in Berkeley, CA and we’ll evaluate your child’s feet and suggest styles that would work best for them. Our number is (510) 647-3744, or you can schedule using our contact form. Take care of your kids’ feet now, so they can grow healthy and strong and support them throughout life.