Choosing Footwear for Children

Your children are the most important thing to you, so choosing the right pair of shoes should be a priority. Buying the right footwear for children can mean the difference between feet that develop normally and ones that start off with problems. Kids’ shoes come in many varieties, and although all children are different, they have similar needs as their feet are develop.

Does My Baby Really Need Shoes?

When babies are born, their entire bodies begin developing at a very rapid pace. It’s important to let things happen naturally, and since shoes are not naturally a part of us, it means you should limit the amount of time spent wearing them. Your baby does not need to spend all day wearing shoes because they are not using their feet for walking yet. Allow them time to let their feet breathe and wiggle. They are beginning to develop the muscles necessary for walking and gripping the ground with their feet. If you do go outside and would like some extra protection for their toes, you should go with shoes that are made of soft, breathable material. You could also simply go with a pair of socks.

Toddlers on the Move

As your child begins to walk, you have to think about protecting their feet more and more. Toddlers’ feet grow at a very rapid pace so make sure you are getting their feet measured every few months. You will most likely need to invest in many pairs of shoes over this period of time, so don’t go out of your way to get the most fashionable ones. Make sure the soles are soft, but not too slippery. Choose close-toed shoes over open-toed as they offer more protection to their feet. Many parents give their children hand-me-downs from older siblings, but do that as little as possible. Each person has their own set of unique feet and our shoes mold to our bodies. Your child could end up with blisters or other conditions that are a result of wearing shoes that don’t fit properly.

School-Aged Children and Sports

Children who are pre-school aged or older need more durability in their shoes. Their feet grow less rapidly than toddlers do so you can invest a bit more in a good pair of shoes. Now is also the time when children become more active. They run and jump with their friends at school and they may even begin to play a sport. Choosing the right pair of athletic shoes is very important in avoiding injury. Look for a pair that has a shock-absorbing sole and good support in the arches and heels. Also make sure they try on the shoe you are planning on getting because if they are uncomfortable at the store it will not get any better during the activity. Don’t assume they will just break their shoes in later.

When to Call a Doctor

If you have questions or concerns regarding the health of your child’s feet, or would like more information on selecting footwear for children, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment at one of our three Massachusetts offices. We’ll help you with any questions regarding kids’ shoes, and take care of all your foot care needs.