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Let’s Get Some Shoes!

by Lauren Lyon, PT, DPT

As a parent, you have to think about so much when it comes to your child. Here are some guidelines on what to think about when shopping for shoes (summer, back-to-school, or other) so you don’t have to do this all on your own!

For newer walkers: barefoot is best! 

  • It’s time to try shoes if your child has been cruising for 4-5 months without progressing to taking independent steps OR is walking a majority of the time. 

For experienced walkers who need some new shoes, you might consider some of these things…

  • A soft, flexible sole. This doesn’t mean that the shoe folds in half. It means that it can easily fold where we would consider a toe crease to be.
  • A wide toe box to allow for toe scrunching. Toe scrunching allows for younger walkers to work on their balance!
  • A Velcro ankle strap (or two) to keep the foot in the proper place.
  • A shoe bottom with good traction.
  • A firm heel cup to give them balance and stability. You should not be able to pinch the heel part of the shoe together. 

"…believe it or not a child’s feet sweat even more than an adult's!"

It’s summer, it’s hot, and believe it or not a child’s feet sweat even more than an adult's! Finding sandals that fit within the guidelines above is a great idea for these hotter months in Michigan – sorry, but CROCS don’t cut it! Here are some examples:

DREAM PAIRS Boys/Girls Summer Sports Sandals (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid)
PANDANINJIA Gina Girls Sandals, Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid
Skechers Unisex, Child Eclipsor, Interpulse Sneaker

"…a child’s foot arch isn’t fully developed until about age 6, so don’t sweat it if you think your child has flat feet!"

And a side note - a child’s foot arch isn't fully developed until about age 6, so don’t sweat it if you think your child has flat feet! Give them plenty of opportunities to play barefoot and in shoes that follow the above guidelines to strengthen those foot and ankle muscles. Walking on uneven ground and playing “the floor is lava” on pillows are some great ways to do this! There are times when a child would benefit from a shoe insert for increased stability. 

If you have questions, ask your child’s primary care provider, seek out a Physical Therapy referral or contact us.

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