Happy Feet, Happy School Year: A Podiatrist’s Guide to Back-to-School Shoes


As the back-to-school season approaches, parents and children alike are gearing up for a fresh start. While shopping for school supplies and new outfits is exciting, one crucial aspect often overlooked is the selection of proper footwear. As a Podiatrist, I understand the importance of choosing the right shoes to encourage healthy growing feet and ensure a pain-free school year. Read on as we share insights and tips to guide you in making informed decisions when it comes to back-to-school shoes.

Understanding Growing Feet:

  • Children’s feet are not just smaller versions of adult feet; they are still developing and are more susceptible to developing lifelong deformity from poorly fitting shoes. It’s crucial to prioritise proper fit to promote healthy foot development.

Key Considerations When Choosing Back-to-School Shoes:

  • Size Matters: Children’s feet can grow quickly, so it’s essential to measure their feet regularly. Shoes that are too small can lead to discomfort, while oversized shoes may hinder proper walking and cause instability. Unsure on fit? Take the innersole out and have you child stand on this, their foot shouldn’t overhang the sides and the innersole should be at least a fingers width longer than their longest toe!
  • Breathability: Opt for shoes made from breathable materials to prevent moisture buildup, reducing the risk of fungal infections and keeping feet comfortable throughout the day.
  • Toe Box Space: Ensure there is enough room in the toe box for toes to wiggle comfortably. This helps prevent issues such as ingrown toenails and promotes natural foot movement.
  • Flexible Soles: Choose shoes with flexible soles to support the natural movement of the foot. Stiff soles can impede proper gait and contribute to foot discomfort.
  • Durability: While it’s essential to consider comfort, durability is also crucial for shoes that will withstand the wear and tear of an active school day. Well-made shoes can provide long-lasting support and protection.

Tips for a Successful Shoe Shopping Trip:

  • Shop in the Afternoon: Feet tend to swell throughout the day, so it’s best to shop for shoes in the afternoon to ensure a more accurate fit.
  • Bring the Right Socks: Have your child wear the type of socks they would typically wear with their school shoes to ensure the right fit.
  • Involve Your Child: Let your child be a part of the shoe-shopping process. Their input on comfort and style can help ensure they are happy and comfortable in their new shoes.

Investing time and attention into selecting the right back-to-school shoes is a small but impactful way to support your child’s overall well-being. By prioritizing comfort, proper fit, and support, you can set the foundation for a successful and pain-free school year. Remember, happy feet make for happy students!

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