Quick four step-guide to look out for when buying shoes

Flexibility

Does the shoe have a thin sole that is super flexible? Great. Not sure? Do the flex-test, bend the shoe, but as well try to twist it.

 

Size & length

Always have room for the toes to wiggle & move. Get the foot measured professionaly, always check the shoes fit whilst the child is standing. There should be nearly an adult’s thumb width space between the end of the toes and the shoe. But be aware: children sometimes curl their toes which give the impression of space so hold their foot down with your hand and with the other hand do the thumb test.

(TIP - Buying a size bigger than your child requires is not ideal, imagine yourself walking in shoes one size too big… Not easy! It incurs the danger to develop bad & unhealthy walking patterns)

 

Width

Make sure that the toes are not squeezed and can expand in the width. The shape of a shoe should reflect the natural shape of a childs foot, so not be pointed and tapered but round and broad. Toes should be uncompressed and lie flat in a shoe, so little toes have room to spread.

 

Heel & Ankle Fit

Never restrict a developing foot. Shoes should sit below or above the ankle – and the heel should be nicely secured by the shoe.

Make sure any shoe you put on a growing child’s foot sits below or above the ankle bone, never on it or it restricts natural strengthening of the ankle. The fit around the heel is the only place that the foot should be secured but only enough to ensure the shoe does not come off. Make sure it doesn’t hold the foot so tight it can’t bend and flex.

 

Fitting your child's new shoes

Remove the shoes from the box and remove any packing material, open the fastenings as wide as possible and help your child put the shoes on, then fasten them securely.

Whilst your child is sitting, lift one foot and hold the ankle with one hand and grip the heel of the shoes with your other hand, pull down gently a few times to check the sole is gripping the heel well, now repeat with the other foot.

Ask your child to stand up, use your fingers to feel around the top of the shoe, check there are no gaps, particularly between the shoe and the heel. Feel around the ankle bone to check the shoe does not touch the ankle bone as it could rub. If the shoe has a padded collar it is designed to support the ankle and will touch the ankle bone but it will feel soft and padded.

Feel the top of each shoe for the end of your child's longest toe. Apply gentle pressure to check the toe is not pressing against the end of the shoe.

Feel along each side of the shoe with your hand, you shouldn't feel any pressure or bulging at the sides and the widest part of the foot should sit in the widest part of the shoe.

Rub your thumb across the top of the shoe, you should feel the leather move with a shallow ripple effect, if there is no movement at all the shoe is too narrow, if you can push the leather into a ridge the shoe is too wide.

Ask your child to walk in the shoes, they should be able to walk easily and naturally, the shoes should not slip off the heel and there should be no excessive gaping at the sides.