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Put shoes at the top of your back to school shopping list

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It’s back to school shopping time. As school-aged children play hard and grow during the summer holidays, new shoes should be at the top of all parents shopping lists.

Here are the tips I give parents who visit my clinic:

• Never hand shoes down from an older child to a younger child even if the shoes are only slightly worn. The shoes may not fit the younger child properly and the wear patterns from the older child will be incorrect for the new wearer.

• Even if your child is in the middle of a growth spurt, don’t buy shoes that are more than one size bigger than their measured size. Shoes that are too large do nor provide adequate support, can cause painful rubs and blisters and are a tripping hazard.

• Only purchase shoes from a store that has experience fitting children, and staff who take the time to properly fit your child. Most importantly make sure your child goes with you. Don’t just buy the next size up. Your child’s feet may have grown more than one size since your last purchase or may not have grown at all.

• Most schools require children to have indoor and outdoor shoes. Avoid the temptation to buy one or even two pairs of inexpensive shoes from a mass retailer. Your child will spend all day, everyday in the indoor pair and will be active in the outdoor pair so both need to fit properly and provide good support.

• Running shoes with adjustable closures are the best choice for school-aged children. If your child hasn’t mastered laces yet, select shoes with Velcro so the shoes can be adjusted easily to ensure a snug fit.

• If your child requires custom foot orthotics, two pairs of orthotics are best as children won’t take the time to switch their orthotics from their indoor shoes to their outdoor shoes at recess and lunch.

Investing in your child’s feet will provide them with the foundation for a pain free active life. If you have any concerns about their feet or lower limbs book a consultation with your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist. Pedorthists are foot and lower limb experts and they can determine if your child’s feet should be left to develop naturally or if custom foot orthotics or a change in footwear is required.

By Amy Chapman, C. Ped (C), Kingston, Ontario

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