5 Tips for Choosing the Right Back to School Shoes

by | Sep 18, 2018 | General Foot Care

The school year is back, much to the divisive yays and boos of those involved!

Whether your kids go to East, Derby, Campus, or the multitude of other fine learning centers in the Wichita area, you want to make sure they’re fully prepared. If you haven’t bought shoes for them in a while, it may be time to consider a new pair for classes.

Summer provides lots of time for shoe-switching and barefooted moving about the house, but your students are going to be in their shoes for 8 hours or more each day! Ensuring their shoes provide the support and comfort they need for that daily haul is very important.

We can’t help you get the kids to agree to go to the shoe store (but rock on to those who love it!). What we can do, however, is provide some advice on finding the right shoes to fit your children’s needs.

Know How Your Child’s Foot Has Changed

We probably don’t have to tell you that kids’ feet can grow fast. At some points in their development, shoe sizes can increase up to two sizes in just half a year! Back to school time is a good checkpoint to update your records.

You can measure your child’s shoe size before you even go to the store. There are guides you can print out and conversion charts you can consult after measuring your child’s foot with a ruler. If you trust and prefer doing things yourself, give them a shot.

You don’t have to measure at home, though. Most shoe stores have trained associates who are more than happy to provide an accurate measurement with their equipment. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this route, and it’s likely going to be more reliable in the end!

In addition to size, take the opportunity to check your child’s general foot health as well. Are their nails clear and healthy? Do they have any abnormal marks or blemishes on their skin? Do they complain of pain in their forefoot or heel? If these questions raise any concerns with you, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Check for the Full Fit

We just told you determining shoe size is important. It is, but it’s not the magic key to one-and-done shoe shopping.

Just because a shoe proclaims itself a certain size does not mean it will be the right fit for your child. A “size 7” in one brand may not be the exact same as a “size 7” in another. Moreover, a size number does not also consider elements such as heel width and toe room.

You should never buy a pair of shoes without trying them for proper fit. Trying them on while seated is not good enough. Standing and bearing the full weight of the body in the shoes will provide a better indication of fit.

While your child is standing in the shoes, use your hand to check the room around the toes. There should be about a finger’s width of space between the tip of your child’s longest toe to the front of the shoe, to accommodate for growth. Also feel along the top of the toe box for the toes’ positions and make sure they are not feeling cramped or crowded.

There should also be about a finger’s width of space between your child’s heel and the back of the shoe. Have them walk around the store in the shoes for a short time, watching for signs of the heel slipping. A little is OK, but significant slippage is not.

Consider the Arches

Feet with high or low (flat) arches will have different needs in footwear.

High arches are more stable, but don’t absorb shock as well. Look for shoes with added cushioning.

Flat feet can absorb impact well, but often lack stability. You can see this in the way the foot rolls inward during walking. (We call this overpronation). Flat feet benefit from shoes with added stability.

A trained shoe associate can often help find the best pairs of shoes for these needs, and we can also provide custom orthotics for cases that need more advanced and specific forms of support.

Let Feet Breathe!

Many adolescent feet tend to sweat a lot, and hot September days certainly don’t help this.

Shoes made of breathable fabrics can help keep too much sweat from accumulating in shoes, which can lead to foul odors as well as an increased risk of picking up a fungal infection, such as fungal toenails or athlete’s foot.

Canvas, cotton, and leather are all great natural materials that allow feet more room to breathe. Try to stray away from more synthetic materials such as rubber and vinyl.

Check Again in 6 Months!

Remember how we said back-to-school time is great for a foot and size checkup? Don’t neglect the other half of the year as well!

Yes, this might mean a new pair of shoes may be in order. Although it’s tempting, do not buy a larger size than your child currently fits and expect them to “grow into it.” That is going to cause plenty of discomfort and problems until they do fit the shoe well. It’s better to buy cheaper and adequate shoes than try to cheat a trendier pair of shoes into lasting.

We hope all our families in the area have a great start to the school year in the most comfortable of kicks!

If problems do arise, however, Kansas Foot Center is always here for you. Give our offices in Wichita or Newton a call at (866) 222-5177 or fill out our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.