How to Ensure Your Kid Starts School in Comfort and Style
By Luke Mason, leading podiatrist at Mulgrave Podiatry
The start of a new school year can be a daunting time for all. As kids worry about making new friends, learning new topics and the end of their summer holidays, parents often worry if their child’s school shoes are right for them. And rightfully so…Childhood is not just a vital time for the development of their personality but also, importantly, the bones in their feet!
The key point of this article is to illustrate that kids’ feet are unique. They’re often drastically different shapes and often require varying levels of support and shoe features compared to adults.
From my experience, parents are commonly concerned about how their kid is walking, more specifically their flat feet. New walkers have a very specific gait that is unique to their development at that point in time. This is generally to cater for their developing bones and muscles, which result in pliable, flat feet. This is normal.
Most toddlers and young children have flat feet, due to the natural rotation of their hips and their unossefied or pliable bones at this stage in life. Most children will essentially ‘grow out’ of this phase, with the right stimulation to their feet.
In fact, shoes with built-in arch support have actually been proven to hasten the development of a toddlers’ natural arch if introduced too early (up to the age of 3). Therefore, it is vital to provide your toddler with regular barefoot time or to mimic this through Bobux shoes.
Bobux helps cater for your child’s foot needs by understanding that barefoot time for babies and toddlers is vital for healthy growth and the development of important postural muscles and a healthy walking pattern.
As your kid gets closer to stepping out for their first day at school, Bobux shoes become more focused on providing support during this active, adventurous phase in life, through design, light materials and flexibility. I would recommend investigating their I-Walk range if your child is becoming a little more adventurous.
Of course, quality shoes are important for school students of all ages, to prevent issues like physical pain or difficultly participating in physical activity. As such, the following recommendations can be applied across the board, to help avoid your child having an uncomfortable school year due to inappropriate shoes.
Fit your child’s shoes appropriately
Let’s face it, we all want maximum growing room to extend the lifespan of shoes. But an ill-fitting shoe can come at a cost. A shoe that is too long can lead to tripping while a shoe that is too tight can cause bruising and position bones abnormally. As a rule, shoes should have a thumb’s width from the end. This gives adequate growing room and allows for the natural flattening of the foot when walking.
Heel to forefoot differential
As a general rule, your child will benefit from a school shoe with a heel 10mm higher than the front of the shoe. A flexible sole is also crucial for healthy growth.
Footwear come in different shapes and sizes and getting your child fitted by an experienced shoe fitter can be worthwhile, especially if they use a brannock to fit your child properly. You can find Bobux stockists near you via the store locator.
Avoid slip on shoes
In school kids, slip on shoes encourage abnormal muscle activation, which may lead to muscle aches and pains. This is because of the way in which feet must grip the shoes to hold them on. Secure your children’s feet with fastening (laces, Velcro and buckles) according to their specific needs.
Avoid sports shoes for all daywear
As the name suggests, sports shoes are made with sports in mind. Therefore, they will deteriorate quicker if used for regular causal wear, all day at school and sports. Keep sports shoes to their intended use.
Please note: if your child is experiencing foot pain or walking problems, this article should not replace a clinical conversation with your podiatrist. Foot, ankle and leg conditions can be multifactorial and footwear may only solve part of the puzzle.
Author Bio: Luke Mason completed his Bachelor of Health Science & Masters of Podiatric Practice at La Trobe University. Luke is currently completing a Master of Applied Science, investigating the reliability of lower limb, myofascial trigger point palpation to expand upon his experiences within the private and community health sectors. He is currently a leading podiatrist at Mulgrave Podiatry, a kid-friendly clinic offering professional, evidence-based, holistic services.