Well-fitting athletic shoes are a must for every sport – well, maybe not swimming! Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM, board certified podiatrist, knows how important it is to choose shoes for sports carefully based on the child’s foot and the needs of each activity.
Inflexible, poorly shaped shoes and those that don’t fit well restrict natural movement and development. An improper fit will not only cause pain and affect athletic performance but may produce foot problems and even sports injuries. Poorly fitting shoes also can actually result in foot deformities like bunions and cause significant problems in the future.
Tips for Buying the Right Shoes for your Child’s Athletic Needs
- Shop carefully in Chicago’s athletic shoe stores that stock a wide variety of styles and brands.
- Visit the store at the end of the day when your child’s feet are largest.
- Always measure both feet each time you shop.
- Bring your child’s athletic socks for trying on the shoes.
- Look for high quality, durable materials like canvas, suede and leather. Synthetic materials that don’t breathe may restrict the foot’s movement and can lead to foot odor or problems like hammertoes and ingrown toenails.
- Consider the specific activity when choosing shoes: for example, running shoes are designed for forward movement and have extra cushioning, while tennis shoes support side-to-side movement.
- Lace up properly at the shoe store and not too tightly.
- Make sure that there is at least one half inch between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe and that the toes can wiggle.
- Let your child walk around the store in the shoes. Make sure that the heels don’t slip as this may cause blisters. Check the child’s feet for any red rub marks that may indicate a poor fit.
Your job is not over when you leave the shoe store – be sure to check your child’s shoes regularly as children grow quickly, especially during growth spurts, and will probably outgrow the shoes before they wear out.
A Word about Cleats
Too few cleats on the heel may cause your child to experience excessive pressure and heel pain. Look for shoes with multiple cleats on the heels. Shorter cleats, up to one half inch long, may help to reduce ankle and knee injuries in younger children.
Let Us Help You Outfit your Child for Sports
Children should not experience foot or ankle pain no matter how vigorous their activities are. Don’t let a child play through an injury.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s feet or footwear, contact our office to come in for a consultation. Dr. Alexopoulos will carefully examine your child’s feet and gait and can address any foot issue he may find. We look forward to seeing you and your child soon!