A fresh start to a school year is not complete without a brand new pair of shoes. Children need the best support as they are on their feet a large part of the day. Their shoes have to take them from the classroom to playground and so much more. This is especially true when a child has flat feet or fallen arches. Some children are prescribed orthotics (AFO or SMO), a brace worn on the lower leg or foot to hold the ankle and foot in the appropriate position.
Brandie Means, a physical therapist at Children’s Health, offers essential tips and brands to help your child put their best foot forward:
- Measure up each year to confirm the appropriate size and width.
- If your child wears orthotics, you generally need to order a half size larger to accommodate AFOs. Make sure your child wears the orthotics to assess for the proper size.
- Look for shoes with the best arch support, especially when buying sandals, tennis shoes or any type of shoes that will be worn for long periods of time. If your child has a favorite shoe and needs more support, you can purchase arch inserts.
- Shoes should be lightweight and flexible as this allows for ease of movement.
- Replace shoes that have a ton of wear. If the traction on the sole is worn down on one part of the shoe, it’s time for a new pair.
- Schedule an appointment with your orthotist every six to 12 months to check for your child’s growth and the wear of his or her orthotics.
- Wear flip flops cautiously as they offer no support and do not cover your feet.
- Stay on trend! Strong support does not necessarily equate to less fashion. There are a number of brands that offer the correct support and are fashionable so kids can keep up with the latest style.
- If your child has fine motor delay, look for shoes that are adaptable and easy to wear. There are brands that provide zippers at the top of the shoe, which may help your child to dress more easily and quickly. This goes a long way to promote independence.