Footwear for little people’s feet….
In terms of choosing footwear for little feet, we don’t like to choose based on age but rather on stage.
Shoes for feet that are soft and malleable need to be just that…. soft and malleable. We do not want tight or rigid shoes or socks around these little feet as they can be influenced but what moulds around them. Babies feet are soft and flexible as they are made of cartilage, as they grow the cartilage hardens and it is then that it becomes known as bone. Hence why they are soft and squishy and awfully cute! Footwear for those who are yet to walk is largely to keep those tootsies warm.
Footwear designed for feet that are still flexible but are on the move, hence we wants footwear that allow the feet to move and develop but that will protect them as they venture to potentially rough terrain!
You will notice the of first walkers which can be from age 6 months to 2 years, are still chubby, they have no arch formation, the child will walk with big steps and arms out, all these modifications are to assist in balance! Walking can be hard at the best of time, let alone the first few times you do it. Sizing here is really important! feet can grow a size in as little as 3-4 months, so ensure you are checking toes aren’t being squished up, you want about a thumbs length of space at the end of the shoe – and not too much space as this can be just as bad.
Confident walkers (Toddlers) developing into climbers and first runners
Footwear needs to support the tests it is going to be put through. Generally for a foot, and child with no developmental issues, you will notice the foot is becoming stronger and more defined. There is less chubbiness, and we may see some arch formation. For a stronger foot we need a slightly stronger shoe. We still require great fit! This never ever changes.
So ensure length and width is appropriate for the foot. We want a shoe that has good movement but is also stable enough for kids running and jumping. You may require something with a slightly more stable heel counter, but nothing rigid.
Preschoolers and primary schoolers – runners, jumpers, skippers, hoppers!
Now that your little feet want to do everything, they need shoes that can truly assist in all of those activities. The foot now looks much more like our own just in mini form.
You will notice in most kids the arch has continued to raise, toes are longer and leaner and there in minimal chubbiness. We want a shoe that has good flex – though the toes, hard wearing, lightweight, protective, and grippy. Something that will move with the feet and allow them to continue to strengthen and develop, but not crumple up in our hands. Generally you will need to find something with a reinforced heel counter.
- Ascent – fantastic, lightweight, supportive in all the right areas and school shoe approved.
- Others worth looking into are; Biomecanics, a Spanish children’s footwear brand, and Clarks– for something a little more traditional.
- Brooks, Asics, & New Balance are great, although for narrow feet they can run quite large.
- Nike & Mizuno generally run narrower but ensure there is enough support if they are involved in activity that requires lots of sideways moving eg Basketball – as Mizuno for one don’t do cross trainers.
- If your child is into lots of sports a cross trainer is a safe bet to cover all activity types.
- Bobox shoes are great for footwear that is functional and suitable for everyday. They have a fantastic and interactive website, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of what to get for what stage.
- Young Soles are another great brand but there are heaps out there as long as you know the features of a good shoe and the stage your child is at you will be able to make an informed decision about what is right for your child and if you need help feel free to make us of us! We are here to help.
To keep in mind, this information is general advice and for kids that are having no issues with their development and hence have met development stages well and progressed with ease. For kids that have super flexi joints or are taking some more time to meet developmental stages, these recommendations may change and that is when we might need a customised and specialise plan involving specific types of footwear, exercises or perhaps referrals which will be provided by your podiatrist.
Please remember pain is never normal, especially in kids, we always investigate (consistent) complaining!