Tips on buying school shoes for children

By Podiatrists Russel Rubin and Trevor Proskewitz


Did you buy your kids new school shoes only to have them complain about blisters and squished toes? Are you unsure of what shoes to buy them for the upcoming sports season (hello, soccer!)? Did you buy cheap school shoes online, but are regretting your decision thanks to the shoes’ poor quality and bad fit? A visit to our podiatrists is just what your children’s feet need.

The fact is, children spend over six hours a day in their school shoes – jumping, running, walking, skipping. In addition, many of them engage in sports such as soccer, netball, cricket and athletics. It’s imperative that they wear shoes that fit properly so that their young feet have the chance to grow correctly. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to problems such as ingrown toenails, corns and bunions. When you visit a podiatrist to get your children’s feet measured and fitted, your podiatrist will match your child’s foot type and function with the correct pair of shoes and also look after their overall foot and ankle health.

A Podiatrist will:

  • Measure both of your child’s feet accurately, taking into account the length and width, since very often, the size varies from foot to foot.
  • Recommend shoes that fit the natural shape of your child’s foot.
  • Check to see if your child is flat-footed or has high arches and can recommend customised orthotics to give your child’s foot the support it needs.
  • Look out for any lumps, calluses, growths or rashes.
  • Help if your child suffers from recurrent pain in their feet or legs, or if your child is constantly tripping or falling.
  • Correct gait issues such as walking on tip toes, walking/running in a lopsided manner, etc.

Tips When Buying Shoes for Children:

  • Get your child’s feet measured professionally every single time they buy shoes as their feet are constantly growing and developing.
  • Shoes should not feel tight. The shoe box should have at least 1cm growing room between the end of your child’s longest toe and the top end of the shoe.
  • Don’t be tempted to buy shoes that are 2-3 sizes too large. They will not stay on their feet properly, causing your child to trip and fall.
  • Get your child to wiggle their toes while trying on the new pair – the shoes should have enough room to do this. The toe of the shoe should allow your child’s toes to move freely and not feel cramped.
  • Shoes with laces, buckles or ankle straps give better support and hold the foot firmly in place. Do not buy slip-ons or second-hand shoes.
  • The widest part of the foot should correspond with the widest part of the shoe.
  • Shoes should fit comfortably around the heel.
  • Buy shoes towards the end of the day when your child’s feet are at their largest.

Contact the footinjuryclinic podiatry team to get your children’s feet assessed, measured and fitted with shoes for school and sport before they start the new academic year.