It’s true that every parent with young children wants to save a buck wherever possible. You might be tempted to hand down your 12 year old’s outgrown shoes to your 10 year old, but you might want to think twice before doing that, especially when it comes to athletic shoes.
Sneakers, cleats, and any shoes made for athletic training need to fit every foot correctly. Considering the heavy beating a foot takes when they’re in these shoes, this is not an area to skimp. Your child will be running, jumping, and kicking, and their feet require padding and comfort to not only perform as well as possible, but to protect their feet from injury. Athletic shoes that are too tight will create blisters, corns, calluses, redness, sores, or ingrown toenails. Those that are too loose will allow the foot to slide, putting undue stress on the toes.
Hand-me-downs also may provide less support for the arch and heel than what’s needed. “Shoes lose their shock absorption over time, and wear and tear around the edges of the sole usually indicates it’s worn out and should be replaced.”, notes Dr Teichman at PA Foot and Ankle Associates. “If a child keeps wearing worn-out or non-supportive dress or athletic shoes, it elevates the risk for developing heel pain, Achilles tendonitis and even ankle sprains and stress fractures.”
When you’re buying new shoes for your child, make sure they’re not too tight, and resist the urge to buy a pair that are slightly large, believing that your child will “grow into them”. And with the innovations in shoe design and construction, modern materials don’t need to “break-in”, like they did years ago.
How to know if the shoe is right for your child:
- Make sure there’s a finger’s width distance in the shoe box between the longest toe and the front of the shoe
- No redness should appear on the child’s feet after taking the shoes off. Redness is a sign of the shoe rubbing or pinching
- The shoe should not bend in the middle of the sole, it should bend at the ball of the foot
- The toe box should flex easily
- The back of the shoe should meet your child’s foot, but not be tight
- Shoes should be made of quality materials which will cushion the foot
- The toe box should be roomy enough that your child can wiggle their toes
Your child’s shoes not only protect their feet from injury this year, but also protect them from developing foot problems which may follow them into adulthood. Take the time and choose wisely.