Paediatric Podiatrist shares tips for parents buying school shoes

Two – thirds of children are wearing the wrong shoe size 

Paediatric Podiatrists share tips for parents buying school shoes 

The Australian Podiatry Association (APodA) has launched a Back to School campaign aimed at educating parents and caregivers on the importance of selecting the right school shoe and the perfect fit. Your feet house one quarter of the bones in your body so protecting them, especially growing bones in children, is key to overall health and wellbeing. 

Research has shown that 67% of children are wearing the wrong shoe size; either too big, too small or no room to grow. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause a range of issues including foot pain, blisters, bunions, etc. leading to poor foot health.  

The theme for this year’s campaign is Fit feet = Fit kids, for kids to be active, they need to wear properly fitting shoes throughout the demanding school day. 

Hayley Uden, Paediatric Podiatrist says finding the right fit for school shoes can be tricky for parents balancing their children’s likes with the family budget.  

“Shopping for school shoes can be quite stressful; parents are looking for shoes their kids will like, that fit correctly and will be long-lasting. 

“I recommend looking for shoes and socks made from natural fibres, allowing 1cm between the big toe and end of the shoe, making sure shoes can be adjusted with laces, Velcro or buckles and ensuring there is enough wiggle room for toes. 

“It is also a good idea to take school socks and/or stockings shopping with you to ensure everything fits correctly. If you’re still unsure see a Podiatrist and they can check if you have bought the correct shoe,” says Hayley. 

Podiatrists offer a range of services to support positive foot health, especially for children. 

“If parents have any concerns about their children’s feet, their local podiatrist can check how the feet are developing, identify any structural concerns, and investigate any issues such as pain, persistent trips or falls, lumps/bumps or smell.

“Getting in early with foot health is always a good idea,” says Hayley.  

APodA has created a range of resources for parents to help make buying school shoes easier including a video on selecting the right shoe, a podcast with a Paediatric Podiatrist and a fact sheet with an easy-to-follow checklist. The resources can be accessed here.

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