boy and girl ages 11 and 9You're a parent with school age children. Normally this time of year is filled with days of shopping for school supplies, back packs, and new clothes for your kids. But this isn't a normal time. You hesitate to go shopping at a store for fear of exposing yourself and your children unnecessarily to Covid-19. In addition, you're scrambling to figure out how you're going to work at home and monitor your kids school work all at the same time.

Instead you're likely turning to the internet to make your purchases. And that includes new shoes for your kids. Normally I tell parents it's best to go to a store to buy their kids shoes. But I know many of you are going to feel more comfortable ordering them online.

Here are the best ways to make sure your kids get a good fit.

Getting the Right Size

The most important part of getting the right shoe is finding the correct size. In a shoe store, the salesperson would typically use a Brannock device to get the correct length and width of your child's foot.

At home you'll need to do the measuring yourself. Be sure to do it later in the day when feet tend to swell. The Healthy Feet Store has a video that demonstrates how to do it using paper, pen, and a ruler. They also provide a size guide. Stride Rite also has a guide for measuring your kid's feet.

Once you order the shoes, check fit by making sure there's at least one thumb's width between the tip of the big toe and the end of the shoe. If you find that one foot is larger than the other, you'll need to buy the larger size.

Buy Shoes That Feel Comfortable

Comfort is just as important as fit. Keep in mind that shoes should not require a "break-in" period. If your child says they're uncomfortable, return them.

Select a Good, Sturdy Shoe

Your kids might want shoes that are stylish, but fashion should take a back seat to stability. Shoes should have a stiff heel counter (the part of the shoe that goes around the backside of the heel) and a rigid midsole area. The shoe should only bend at the toes and not under the arch. In addition, shoes should be difficult to twist (wring out like a rag). To get a better idea of what this looks like, you can view our video "How to Test Any Shoe for Stability".

Finally, keep in mind shoe brands create all kinds of styles from the very sturdy to the very sloppy and everything in between. Buying a particular brand that was sturdy in the past will not guarantee another style in that brand will deliver the same stability. Read the descriptions thoroughly to ensure you're getting what you want and test the shoes once they arrive.

Stick With the Tried And True

You found a brand that works well for your kid. Stick with it. Brands tend to remain consistent in how they're built. That will benefit you once you've found one that fits well.

Buy the Right Shoe for Your Child's Activity

Sturdiness is one factor in helping your kid's feet stay healthy. Sports shoes are also designed specifically to prevent foot and ankle injuries for a particular sport. Make sure you purchase soccer shoes for soccer, running shoes for running and so on. This is particularly important as your kids get older and play becomes rougher.

Avoid Hand-Me-Downs or Used Shoes

Buy Nothing Groups are all the rage these days. Particularly now during the pandemic when we're trying to save some money and avoid thrift stores. While you may feel tempted to grab those cute kid's clothes from your neighbors, avoid it with your kids shoes. Shoes wear down and take on the wear pattern of the user. Loss of support and function occur as a result.  Sharing shoes can also spread infections such as warts or fungus from one child to another.

Is your child experiencing foot pain? Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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