Your kids are going back-to-school this month, and they may be a little uneasy about new rooms, classmates, and teachers. Getting new shoes is part of the ritual, too. Finding the right shoes for kids can seem pretty daunting if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s important to find the right balance between safety, practicality, and style.

If your kids are younger (toddler aged to early elementary) the most important elements of the footwear are the front, the back, and the width. It’s a good idea to have them professionally fit so that you know their shoes are the correct size. You will want there to be a bit of wiggle room in the toe area, but not enough so that their feet are sliding all around. Younger children have wider feet so it’s crucial to accommodate that as well. The heel counter of the shoe should also provide enough space so that no pressure is being placed on the Achilles tendon. Your child will probably go through new footwear very quickly, so make sure they are getting sized every time you buy a new pair.

Older children are probably involved in sports or physical activity of some kind, so you will want to get shoes that fit them properly and provide what they need for safety. Again, get them professionally measured to ensure a perfect fit. When they try on shoes for their sport, have them wear the socks they will be using. Socks can dramatically change the fit and feel of a shoe, so it’s essential that this is a part of the fitting process. Many people think that you have to “break in” new footwear. This is not the case. If something doesn’t feel comfortable right away, then move on to the next pair. Your child should feel support and cushion where needed. If they don’t think it feels right, then look elsewhere.

We can help evaluate your child’s feet and give you information on good shoe styles for them. Call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in our Lowell, MA office.