Your active kid is always out and about, and you need to buy him a good pair of sports shoes for kids. Choosing the right pair of sports shoes is important to prevent injury, and it ensures your child has maximum comfort, say the experts. Here are 6 factors to consider.
Shop at the end of the day
This is when your child’s feet are at their largest and you are therefore more likely to get a more accurate measurement, says Fiona Hu, director and chief podiatrist at The Sole Clinic. Alternatively, get fitted after a run or sporting event. “With him standing, measure both his feet. Remove the inner lining of the shoe and place it underneath his feet while he’s standing and bearing his full weight. Choose shoes that fit the larger foot.”
(Also read: Is too much sports bad for your kid?)
Socks can affect the fit
This is why it’s important for your kid to try on the shoe with his sports socks on, says Helen Crawford, a podiatrist at the Osteopathy and Podiatry Centre. Get him to walk or run around the store with them on to make sure that everything fits comfortably. He should also be able to wiggle his toes in his socks while he’s got his shoes on.
Fiona adds: “When he takes off the shoes, check his feet for any red spots or areas of irritation. Inspect the inside of the shoe for any extra material, glue or irregular stitching, which can cause chafing.”
Choose the “correct fit”
This means allowing for growth, from the longest toe, of about a thumb’s width when your child is standing – approximately 12mm to 14mm, says Helen. Any shorter and you will need to change the shoe. The shoe should not be difficult to get into, either – it should slide on easily if the fastenings are open. “Also, when the laces or Velcro are done up properly, you shouldn’t be able to remove the shoe without undoing them,” Helen says. “If you can, then the shoe is too big.”
(Also read: Does my child have flat feet?)
Bigger is not better
Avoid buying a size larger in hopes that Junior will grow into the shoes or that they will last longer, says Helen. Just as a shoe that is too small can damage his foot, so too can a shoe that is too big. In addition to causing blisters, callouses and corns to form, loose shoes simply do not allow the “grip” your child’s foot needs for him to walk without tripping or falling, or straining his foot muscles.
Buy the best pair you can afford
“As far as sports footwear goes, I’d have to say that the branded ones are of a better quality, as the companies have the research and technology behind them,” says Helen. “But it’s not just about the brand; it’s about buying the right type of shoe for your child’s foot and the sport or activity he will be playing.” So, go for the best brand you can afford, but make sure the shoe fits right.
(Also read: How to encourage children to try new sports)
Get shoes for different sports
Athletic shoes can be expensive, but Helen says that buying different pairs for different sports can make a difference. “Tennis shoes, for instance, have a special grip on the sole and offer more stability for sideways movement that’s involved in the game,” she points out.
That said, she says that you should make your decision based on how much wear your kid is going to get out of the shoes. “If he only plays tennis for an hour or so each week, then I wouldn’t say that getting tennis shoes was necessary. However, if he’s playing three times a week for a couple of hours each time, then getting him tennis shoes can definitely help prevent injury.”
(Also read: How to get your girl interested in sports)