As your child’s feet continue to develop, it may be necessary to change their shoe and sock size every few months to allow room for the feet to grow. Although foot problems result mainly from injury, hereditary factors, deformity, or illness, improper footwear can aggravate pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately the children wearing them can’t or don’t tell us whether their shoes are too small. Before parents invest in a new pair of children’s footwear, some foot factors need to be considered:

  1. Shoes that don’t fit properly can aggravate the feet. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes and fit the shoe to the foot. Allow at least 1cm extra room at the end of the toes.

  2. Watch for signs of irritation. Redness is a sure sign that a shoe is too tight or too loose. If your child always wants to remove one or both of his/her shoes, this may be an unspoken sign that the shoes don’t fit properly.

  3. Look at the heels. When children begin to show excessive in or out-toeing, they may wear through the heels of their shoes much quicker than outgrowing the shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.

  4. Take your child shoe shopping. It’s important to have your child’s feet measured before buying shoes. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.

  5. Shop for shoes later in the day.  Feet tend to swell during the day; it’s best to be fitted while they are swollen.

  6. Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period; shoes should be comfortable immediately.

  7. Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.

  8. Have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.

  9. ‘Crocs’ and thongs are not good everyday shoes, as they provide little support for growing feet, can irritate the skin and force the toes to ‘claw’ to stop them falling off. These should only be ‘sometimes shoes’