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Did you know that a recent survey suggests that up to 50% of children could develop foot problems as a result of wearing ill fitting shoes. This was reported on a new website which is campaigning for healthy feet for kids.
The site has some great practical tips http://www.healthylittlefeet.com/
The answer to this really depends on the individual child and what type of shoes you’re talking about. It’s also important to leave the child barefoot as they get lots of sensation from their feet which this helps with the development of balance, posture and coordination. So barefoot is good, but whenever you do choose shoes it’s really important that they fit well. Even tight socks, sleep suits and bed covers can be damaging to a child’s feet. It’s also important that once they have graduated to shoes that you check the fit every 6-8 weeks. At Feet & Co we pay close attention to fit and will always be happy to check the fit to let you know if you don’t or do need new shoes.
The first kind of shoes on the market are crib or pram shoes. These are really soft and flexible and are not designed for the walking child. They’re like socks – good for warmth and also useful for keeping socks on!! They usually come in standard 0-6; 6-12 and 12-18 month sizes, although some manufacturers have more range in size.
For the sock staying on problem we found a really nice product called Sock-Ons – these are put on over socks and anchor them in place. Tried them out …. not personally … but on our own ‘crawler’ and they do work!!
The next type of shoe is a prewalker. These are designed for babies who are moving through the crawling phase to being able to stand up, cruise along furniture / walk with support and then take those magical first steps. At this stage the feet are really soft, flexible and padded with fat. It’s often hard to fit shoes so the prewalker is particularly soft, cusioned and flexible and is really there to protect the soft vulnerable feet. Some manufacturers use materials that are machine washable. The Prewalker will last for the first months of being a toddler and getting to grips with walking.
Shoes for walking are really only necessary once the toddler is up on their two feet as their main means of getting around and is confident on their feet. These shoes are more structured with more support for the ankle and a firmer, but still flexible flat sole. Feet are still chubby at this stage, so the shoes should have rounded toes with plenty of room for the tootsies. Adjustable straps and laces ensure a secure fastening so that the shoe doesn’t slip and fits correctly. Many children have very broad feet at this age so not all styles and brands will suit , so once the foot is measured it’s a case of trying on different ones in the shop to ensure a good fit. For this reason some shoe brands like StartRite come in a range of UK half size and width fittings, while others like Pablosky, Ricosta, Primigi, Garvalin, Biomechanics. Lelli Kelly and Geox come in european sizes . See our page on feet sizes
All of these brands have well constructed shoes that provide good arch and heel support. If you visit their own websites you’ll see the attention to detail and research that the companies put into making quality shoes for growing feet.
Noel from Feet & Co Drumcondra starting a discussion on a problem some parents face when buying shoes. A girl recently measured one foot a full size bigger than the other. Thinking on my feet, I suggested buying a pair in the 2nd size at a much reduced price thus solving the problem in a fair way for the customer. Since then, I have thought about it further and maybe a better idea would be for Feet & Co to sell the pair at the 2 different sizes at the normal price and network other shoe shops to sell the remaining 2 odd size shoes.