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Oct 16, 2019

Choosing Children’s Shoes: Mechanical Considerations

If you let a child choose their own shoes you’ll probably be surprised by their choice, it will certainly look good, but it may not be the most practical option.

Of course, you may want to get your child shoes that look like yours, but this is also not necessarily the best option.

In fact, despite many children’s shoes looking very similar to adults, children do not have the same movements as adults. As children grow they need different shoes to ensure that their feet are properly supported; giving them the right footwear can help to avoid them having issues later in life.

It’s a lot of responsibility for any parent and the reason specialist shops like Garvalin, Australia exist.
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash
The first thing to understand is that a shoe serves several roles:

       Protection

A long time ago humans didn’t wear shoes, but shoes are seen as an essential means of protecting feet from scrapes and other abrasions.

It’s worth noting that adult footwear is trending towards a more minimalistic look which has helped shoe manufacturers to re-evaluate what is important in a shoe.

       Support

The secondary role of any shoe is to provide support. This is especially important in children. A shoe should support the arch of the foot, but, this is only actually necessary in older children. Children under 4 aren’t active enough for the arch support to matter. Select shoes with arch support at this age can actually hinder the proper development of the foot.

However, plantar support is important from a very young age.  The loading pattern of a foot is relevant from when a child is as young as 2 ½ years old, which means a shoe should have cushioning under the heel.

It is also important for shoes to offer forefoot flexibility, the range of movement can be significantly different in children to adults, it’s essential to choose shoes that allow the forefront of their feet to move in all directions.

Once children hit 14-15 years old their feet will stop growing and their needs are effectively very similar to adults, allowing you to comfortably purchase adult shoes for them. At this stage, the important factors are motion control and support at the rear of the foot.
Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels

       Style


Although it can be argued that style is not very important in the correct development of feet. Style is an important consideration when you choose shoes and when your children are old enough to appreciate what they are wearing.

This is actually the reason that so many children’s shoes look similar to adult ones.

Additional Factors

By understanding the role of the shoe and how it supports your child’s foot and ongoing development, you can choose the right shoe for your child. But, you should also consider
these additional factors:

       Minimalistic Shoes

The current movement towards minimalistic shoes is actually a good one and worth considering for your child. Minimalistic shoes allow your child’s foot to develop more naturally, they are worth considering.

       Know Your Child

Your child may have a weak front foot, back foot, or a weak arch. You need to have a good look at their foot and even consult a pediatrician to ensure you identify weak areas and choose the shoes that give the right support.

We hope these tips will help you with your shoe buying process for your child.

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