Eastern Foot Care Podiatrists Zoe Giacobbe and Sarah Bowling discuss what features to look for in a school shoe prior to children and young adults returning for Term 1, 2017
Choosing the correct school is very important. School age kids can spend up to 13 years in these shoes and in that time they may be used for walking to/from school, football on the oval at recess and chasing games on concrete over lunch time.
With an incorrect fit or incorrect support long term damage and issues may arise. As such we recommend that all school shoes are fitted by an experienced and reputable retailer. To ensure durability we recommend choosing shoes with genuine leather uppers, high abrasion resistant soles and a cushioning midsole. It can be difficult for parents to know what to look for, which is where relying on the experienced retailer is important.
Below are some tips on what other features to look for when buying school shoes:
With either shoe laces, buckle or a velcro strap the shoe should be tightened to the foot each and every time that the shoe is put on.
It is so common for school kids to slip their shoes on and off without undoing the fastening. Not only does this wear down the firm heel counter it also stretches the shoe.
Slipping the shoes on with adjusting the fastening also causes the muscles in the lower legs and feet to over work as the toes must grip to keep the shoe from slipping off, and there is likely an increased risk of an ankle sprain due to a sloppy fit of the shoe.
Should match the shape of the foot. It shouldn’t be too wide or pointed. It should also be deep enough for the toes. Too shallow can cause nail damage, blistering or calluses.
The upper of the shoe should also be made of leather which means it is breathable, long lasting and comfortable.
FIRM HEEL COUNTER
Hold underneath with one hand. With the other hand, press firmly onto the heel counter at the back of the shoe with your thumb. It should feel hard and shouldn’t collapse.
The heel counter provides support and holds the heel stable.
SOLE OF SHOE
Should bend where the toes will bend. The sole of the shoe should be firm though the midfoot and should not bend in half across the arch area.
Also look for a good material that will provide shock absorption and will have good grip and stability. Pushing on the side of the shoe sole to ensure there is some level of cushioning is also important.
Ideal length will allow approx 1 thumbs width from the end of the longest toe.
We do not recommend parents buy shoes with “growth room” as this can lead to a poor fit for the majority of the usable life of the shoe.
We recommend parents avoid flat heeled shoes – there should be a pitch of at least 1cm from the heel down to the toe area. Given the propensity for children aged 9-13 to develop growth-related heel pain it is advisable to reduce Achilles tendon loading via use of a small heel lift.
By the same token the heel height should be no greater than 2.5cms. Higher heels will cause an increase in forefoot pressure or possibly digital deformities.
Our Podiatrists at Eastern Foot Care are very comfortable recommending reputable brands like Clarks, Ascent and SureFit in lace-up, buckle and velcro fastening styles. For more specific information on the most suitable shoe option for your child or teenager we recommend a thorough assessment with one of the Podiatrists at Eastern Foot Care Podiatry Ringwood or Eastern Foot Care Podiatry Knox:
Eastern Foot Care Knox
5a/426 Burwood Hwy, WANTIRNA SOUTH (Knox)
Ph: (03) 9887 2233