Back to School Shopping
We really hope this doesn’t come as a big surprise if you have kids, but our Bloomington Public Schools start on August 20th this year.
In all likelihood, however, you’re probably well-aware of that fact. Further, there’s a pretty decent chance you’re even counting down the days—much like students do in the spring!
(Naturally, you love your children to the moon and back, but there’s nothing wrong with a little peace and quiet around the house, right?)
Since the start of school is coming up fast, the odds are good you’re quite busy. After all, parents “only” have to:
- Fill out necessary forms (without missing key deadlines)
- Buy all required school supplies
- Make sure transportation plans are set
- Make sure meal plans are set
- Sign up your children for fall sports and activities (which may also include scheduling appointments for physicals with your family doctor)
Oh yeah, and if that’s not enough, you need to make sure they are properly clothed as well.
With so much to do and keep in mind, it can be easy to lose sight of an important back-to-school consideration—your children’s footwear!
What should you look for in children’s shoes?
When you buy back-to-school shoes, there are some things you need to keep in mind. To make this as simple as possible, here are four areas to focus on:
- Proper fit. This is the most important consideration when buying shoes, for children or otherwise. A shoe fits correctly when toes aren’t crowded in the front and the foot isn’t able to slide around inside (when it’s laced). It should be wide enough that toes can wiggle freely and have a length wherein there is roughly a thumb’s width of space between the longest toe and front of the shoe. The heel needs to be cradled securely, without excessive rubbing in the back. (Actually, you should be able to slide your finger down the back to around the second knuckle when the shoe is laced.)
- Arch support. Depending on your student’s age and activity choices, this could be more or less of a concern than it is for other children. That said, arch support plays an important role in shoe function, and especially when it comes to foot arches that are either lower or higher than normal. Low arches benefit from greater stability, whereas high arches require greater amounts of cushioning.
- Activity-appropriateness. If your son or daughter participates in a sport, he or she needs to have shoes that correspond correctly. We understand it would be less expensive if your daughter could wear her cross-country shoes on the basketball court, but it doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.
- Breathability. If you’re back-to-school shopping with a preteen or teen, you will especially want to keep this consideration in mind. Shoes that are made out of breathable materials allow feet to remain cooler. In turn, this keeps them drier (since they don’t have to produce extra sweat to do that). This is important because the bacteria that naturally resides on our skin feeds on the sweat. As the microorganisms break it down, it causes the distinct, unpleasant aroma we often associate with stinky feet and old shoes.
Shoe-buying tips from the pros
We want your children to have safe, healthy feet—and we’re pretty sure you do too!
Buying their shoes plays an important role in that, so you probably will want to understand how to find the right ones for your sons and daughters.
Well, we’re here to help you, so we’ve compiled some shoe-buying tips and guidelines to follow, including:
- Go to an actual brick-and-mortar store. Sure, you can buy virtually anything online nowadays, but don’t rush to Amazon for your children’s shoes. Why not? Because—as we noted up there—proper fit is absolutely essential. Which ties in perfectly with…
- Bring your child with you. There are two key reasons for this—children’s feet grow at a remarkable rate and shoes sizes vary between manufacturers. What this means is that your kid’s shoe size could have increased from the last time his or her feet were measured. And even if the size hasn’t changed, Brand A’s size-6 might be the same as Brand B’s size-5 ½.
(As an added bonus, doing this allows you to spend a little extra time with your child!)
- Shoe sizes are only a guide. Since sizes aren’t necessarily consistent across all brands and models, think of sizes as being a tool to help you identify a starting point in finding the correct fit—and not the full story.
- Shoes should fit properly from the start. It’s a common mistake to buy shoes that are way too big and think “he’ll grow into them,” or shoes that aren’t big enough with the mindset of “they’ll stretch out.” Instead, abide by this simple rule—if shoes don’t fit well in the store, don’t buy them. Just try the next half-size up or down (appropriately) until a proper fit is reached.
- Fit the shoes to the larger foot. We might not always realize it, but one foot is almost always larger than the other. Accordingly, have both of your child’s feet measures, and then use the larger size when picking out footwear.
Connect with HFAA for pediatric foot care services that are both gentle and effective
Hopefully these tips and guidelines are able to help you choose shoes that will keep your children’s feet healthy and safe as they enter the new school year.
Footwear plays an important role in foot health, but there are other considerations as well—including coming in for an appointment when any problems arise or anything is out of the ordinary in the lower limbs.
Early detection and intervention is important for humans of all ages, but it can be even more so for children on account of the fact their feet are still developing. If you give us the opportunity to put preventive measures in place, we may be able to help your son or daughter avoid big problems down the road.
If you ever need any foot care services—for any member of your family—don’t hesitate to contact Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates. Our team provides gentle care for young patients and will take every measure to make them feel comfortable during the appointment.
You can connect with our Bloomington, IL office by calling (309) 661-9975.