Kids and shoes - a good fit??
By: Jill Hunter
A lot of us think of children as just little adults and treat them accordingly. We demand good listening, calm thinking and patience (even when we are sometimes lacking in these qualities as adults!!). This can cause some issues as their brains are not developed yet so can not display these qualities and situations often end in tantrums and tears!! We often think of their feet in the same way, looking for shoes that we would look for as adults. The reality is that kids feet are very different to an adult foot and therefore shoes must be purchased with different criteria in mind.
The first difference to note is the shape of the foot. As adults, our widest point generally is the ball of the foot and therefore we can get away with shoes that taper around the toe area. The widest point of a kids foot is the toes so we must look for a shoe that has a squarer toe box to allow for adequate toe movement as they splay out to grip the ground. Secondly, as adults we have developed arches on the medial and lateral borders of the foot and also across the forefoot. The degree of arch height obviously varies from person to person. It is very important to allow your child's foot to develop naturally so you should not be putting their feet into anything with a heel as this changes the position of the feet. There should also be some flexibility in the sole to allow for this arch development. Our shoes tend to have a very stiff mid sole for support and have flexibility through the ball of the foot, where as kids shoes need to have more flexibility throughout the entire sole. Lastly, we need to give a lot of thought to the weight of the shoe. There are a lot of studies that show that by putting children in a heavy shoe, it places too much pressure on their weight bearing joints as they grow and develop. By purchasing a shoe that is lightweight, children tend to move more efficiently and have less aches and pains.
Now keeping in mind, kids love to play dress ups so don't worry if they are trying on your high heels or their dads work boots on the odd occasion. As long as they are in a shoe that fits their feet well and allows them to develop naturally for their body for the majority of the time. Make sure you empty the sand out of them occasionally as well!!
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