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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Tips for Buying Children’s Shoes by Dr. Pamela Hoffman

Jul 24, 2019 09:31PM ● By Dr. Pamela Hoffman

Summer is speeding by, and children will be back in school soon. As a new school year often means new school shoes, here are some guidelines to follow when shopping:

Look for shoes made of natural products such as canvas, leather or suede. Unfortunately, many children’s shoes are made of plastic or other manmade materials that don’t allow the skin to “breathe.” Avoid synthetic shoes, which can cause skin problems like athlete’s foot, blisters and nail fungus.

Measure your child’s feet. It’s worth getting your child’s (not to mention your own) feet measured in-store when you can, but you can also do it yourself using online resources. Livie & Luca has a printable form your child can stand on to determine his or her size. Other great resources for little-kid shoes are kimi + kai and pediped, whose products are approved by the American Podiatry Association.

Recheck shoe size often. Kids grow quickly, and their feet grow first. (Remember sixth grade, when the boys were still short but had big feet?) Check their size every two months, especially in middle school. There should be a finger-width difference between the end of the shoe and their longest toe. If the end of the shoe is tilting up, it’s probably too short.

Choose the right shoe for the activity. If your child runs, get a good running shoe with arch support. Sneakers should not bend and should not be able to roll up like a burrito. Children need a supportive heel counter and good shock absorbency. Be careful buying cleats, as some are poorly made and have cardboard insoles. Cleats tend to be entirely synthetic, too, so get them off your child’s feet as soon as possible.

Don’t pass down used shoes. Hand-me-downs transfer organisms, and they might not fit the next child properly. Wearing worn-out shoes can cause irritation and tendon issues.

By choosing shoes carefully, you can help your child start the school year on the right foot. Happy shopping!

Pamela Hoffman, DPM, practices at Katonah Podiatry, whose board-certified holistic podiatrists provide foot care for people of all ages. Location: 200 Katonah Ave., Katonah, NY. For more info, call 914.232.8880 or visit