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Choosing the Ideal School Shoe
As Summer starts it’s time to think about getting kids equipped to go back to school. Kim Jackson of Klodhoppers Children’s Shoe Shop has some advice on what to look for in the ideal school shoe…
The ‘Ideal’ school shoe is quite difficult to find and is often a matter of compromise, especially with older children who are more easily influenced by peer pressure and fashion trends. Footwear which is too big or too small or simply does not fit properly can cause life-long foot problems. Most school-aged children spend the majority of their week in their school shoes, therefore it makes sense to have a ‘proper’ shoe for the sake of their foot health.
The ideal shoe should consist of the following:-
Adequate length, width and depth
All children’s footwear should be measured for length and width, and fitted by a qualified shoe fitter. The shoe fitter will also be able to assess the child’s foot and check for any other factors which need to be taken into account, for example, does the child have a very high arch? Or a very slim heel? Or does she wear orthotic inserts? An experienced fitter can assess a child’s foot with the use of their eyes and hands in a matter of seconds. The measuring gauge is merely a guide and a good place to start. Just because the shoe box says it’s a size 7F on the label, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to fit all 7F sized feet! (The fit can be down to the style, shape of the foot, material the shoe is made from etc). Poorly-fitting footwear in young children could result in deformity, whereas in older children it may result in toenail, joint and skin problems
The part of the shoe stiffens the back and sides stopping the heel slipping out of the shoe. Along with a broad base of heel, it helps to keep the foot in place and prevent sprained ankles. It also helps to prevent ‘claw toes’ – a shoe that slips up and down at the back will cause the toes to claw to keep the foot in the shoe.
Height of heel
The heel height can be increased slightly as the child gets older, but should be no more than 4cm.
How the shoe is kept on the foot – laces, Velcro etc. The ideal should be Velcro, laces (properly tied) or a ‘T’ bar, which acts like a seatbelt in a car and holds the foot in the shoe. This helps to prevent toe deformities, as a poor retaining medium can allow the foot to slide up and down in the shoe.
Ideally this should be made from leather (or a good quality synthetic if you are a vegan or vegetarian). Synthetic materials can cause excessive sweating and increase the likelihood of athlete’s foot, verrucae and ingrowing toenails. Leather is preferable as it is breathable and moulds to the wearer’s foot within a short time.
Toe area shape
However obvious this sounds, the toe area shape should be toe-shaped, and NOT pointed. Pointed toe areas can result in corns and bunions as the foot is squeezed from both sides.
Kim and Mark run Klodhoppers providing quality brands of children shoes from their website at Klodhoppers.com or expertly fitted at their stores in Hove and Haywards Heath in Sussex.