N02 — January 2013 — Shopping for Kids Shoes
Intro: The average toddler outgrows their shoes four times a year. It's enough to keep parents on their toes. But, there's no need to stress over making the right choices for healthy feet. A few simple considerations will save you worry and money. Here's Dennis Douda for the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Shoe shopping for kids. The choices seem endless. Racks and racks and rows and rows of styles, materials and options. Dress shoes, play shoes, athletic shoes. And once you find the perfect pair, parents know, it's probably time to do it again.
"Yeah, they just grow right out of them."
Sara Sok is a mother of two including 5-year-old Dara. She hopes she's going about it the right way.
"Mostly getting the right size for them so their toes aren't shmooshing,"
"This is one I'm not as fond of because it has a very thick sole and it's very hard and rigid."
Dr. Noelle Larson is a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon at Mayo Clinic. She says the basic goal of kids' shoes is simply to protect the foot from trauma and the environment. Beyond that it's important to do no harm.
'Particularly in smaller children, to pick a very wide shoe with a wide toe box so the toes aren't being crowded in the front of the foot and also to pick a nice, flexible sole instead of a hard sole
Dr Larson says research indicates at any given time, nearly a third of children may be wearing shoes that are too small because they've outgrown them.
"So I'd say it's better to change the shoes more frequently rather than necessarily investing in a very fancy, expensive pair of shoes."
If your child's feet seem not to have an arch, not to worry. Dr. Larson says up to 20% of kids never will. The rest will develop arches by age 10 or 12. Back to the "do no harm" objective. Parental guidance is suggested for teenagers who love high-heels. Dr. Larson says girls need to be girls, but ankle sprains, bunions and toe deformities could be the price to pay.
"That's one reason not to wear them on a daily basis. Puts a lot of pressure on the ball of the foot. As you can see not a lot of people have a triangular shaped foot."
Sara has a few years before she has to have that debate with Dara. In the meantime, every few months there's a stop at the shoe store for a new measurement…
"And pretty much every time we gotta get a new pair. (Sara laughs)
For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Dennis Douda.
A couple of other suggestions: Allowing a finger width of extra room beyond the toes will give kidís feet room to grow and still give them a good fit. And, for toddlers, a higher heel in the back will help keep the shoes from sliding off.
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