SHOES THAT BREATHE
We care for your child’s feet
GOOD SHOES WILL KEEP YOUR CHILD’S FEET FIT AND HEALTHY FOR LIFE
What you need to know:
1. Little children seem to have flat feet: their footprints show the image of the so-called physiological flatfoot. In a typically developing child, the fat pads covering the arch of the foot disappear around the age of 4 or 5, revealing the correct longitudinal arch.
2. Infants and toddlers have O-shaped knees and heels until the age of 2 (bow legs). At the age of 3-5 their knees and heels take an “X” shape (knock-knees). The correct position of the legs develops when the child is around 7.
3. Shoes are a “necessary evil”: they protect our feet from hard, uncomfortable surfaces, injuries as well as from the cold. Children should be placed into shoes only when they are confident walkers.
4. Children’s toes fan out, so the shoes must have a wide toe box so as to avoid pinching. Too narrow shoe tips can lead to toe deformities.
5. Children’s toes are very nimble. The right shoes should have high toe boxes to allow enough room for the child to wiggle their toes freely
6. Well-fitting shoes will help your child develop their walking ability. Shoe laces or velcro straps will make it easier for you to put the shoes on the child and to adjust them to the width of the foot.
7. When the child first learns to walk, high top shoes with a supple, reinforced heel counter ensure the correct placement of the foot, prevent a bow-legged or knock-kneed position and protect the shoe against deformation. Pre-formed soles extending over the upper around the heel area also serve this purpose. Older children can have lower-cut shoes (oxfords) or even sandals without heels, provided that they have an appropriate “groove” (bed) for the heel, which works just like the counter.
8. Flexible shoes will keep the foot joints mobile and supple for many years. The soles should flex at the place where the foot bends naturally, at the level of the joints linking the toes to the metatarsal bones (MTP joints). Rigid soles restrict the natural mobility of the feet, impair fitness and impose an unnatural way of walking.
9. Children have delicate, sensitive feet that require soft, flexible uppers. Uppers made of stiff fabrics restrict the foot, disturbing blood circulation and causing blisters or even feet deformities.
10. Shoes with low heels (around 5-10 mm) promote a natural way of walking. While little girls are often eager to try on their moms’ high-heels, even teenagers should avoid heels higher than 3.5 cm. If high-heeled shoes are worn too soon, they can cause changes in the foot structure and in the alignment of the lower limbs and the spine.
11. The small foot of a child has as many sweat glands as that of an adult. It is generally assumed that children’s feet prespire more than the feet of adults. Moist, sweat-covered skin is prone to diseases, such as fungal infections. This can be prevented by wearing shoes made of moisture-absorbent fabrics with good vapor permeability. Socks or tights also play an important role here, as they cover the foot directly and should absorb sweat and permeate it into the shoes.
Follow these tips to choose the rights shoes for your child and keep their legs strong and healthy for many years.
SHOPPING FOR CHILDREN’S SHOES
Buying shoes for a little child is a demanding task. The vast majority of children are born with healthy feet, but only 30 percent of adults suffer from no feet-related ailments. Unfortunately, ill-fitting shoes that are not appropriate for the delicate and sensitive skin of a child are often to blame for this. To avoid this path, we should take shoe shopping very seriously and prepare well for the job.
Below you will find a handful of tips that can help you make the right choice:
1. Children, especially younger ones, are often bored at the store. If possible, go scouting alone and choose a few models that your child can try on later, when you bring them along.
2. Your child needs to try the shoes on, before you can make the final decision. Do not buy shoes with the help of a “measuring stick” – not only the length, but also the width of the shoe are important.
3. The best time of the day to go shopping is in the afternoon, when the baby’s feet are slightly bloated. In this way, you will avoid buying too tight shoes.
4. After the child puts the shoes on, you should first check their length. Here are some points to consider:
B. During walking the foot moves towards the tip of the shoe, so the shoe must be around 10 mm longer than the foot. A shoe that is too short will hurt and deform the toes with every step.
C. The younger the child, the more difficult it is to find out from them if the shoe really fits. At home, ask your child to step on a piece of paper and trace the contour of their foot with a pencil (the legs should be slightly apart and the weight placed evenly on both feet; the pencil should be held vertically to the ground to capture the actual size of the foot). The shape can be then cut out and used as an aid placed inside a shoe to check its size. New paper models can be made every 3 months to assess the growth of the foot in length and to decide whether the child needs larger size shoes.
D. After putting the shoes on, the child should take a few steps and you should watch if the walk is natural or perhaps stiff.
Feel the shoe inside with your hand at the places that are particularly prone to pinching or rubbing: make sure that the collar is soft and does not rub on the Achilles tendons or ankles, and that there are no bulges around the joints of the big and the fifth toe or any elements that could hurt the feet.
6. Make sure that the shoes are supple and bend at the right spot, at the level of the joints.
7. The same rules apply when you buy outdoor shoes or slippers to wear at kindergarten, school or home, because your child will spend most of their time in those shoes.
8. Children should not wear hand-me-down shoes, as with them they can “inherit” foot deformities, bad walking habits or fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. However, if there is no other choice, make sure that the shoes are not deformed and that the previous owner did not suffer from any skin conditions.
9. The shoes should not become deformed during walking and should fit the child’s feet properly.
Follow these rules to give your child’s feet a chance to develop and function properly, and to remain strong and healthy for life.
HAVE A SUCCESSFUL SHOPPING TRIP!
Barbara Skrzyńska, MA
Institute of Leather Industry, Branch in Krakow
Institute of Leather Industry, Branch in Krakow
Children should wear proper sized shoes. Due to the continuous growth of child’s foot, we should often check whether the shoes are not too tight.
It is a general rule that the extended longest toe should be 8-10 mm from the shoe top. Too tight footwear may cause toe injury whereas too big shoes hinder proper walking.
The child should have two pairs of shoes for each season, to wear in turns. Wearing the same pair every day facilitates development of bacteria and microorganisms.
The shoes should not be machine-washed. Total soaking of shoes may cause ungluing. Dirty shoes should be cleaned with moist cloth and dried in airy place, away from direct source of heat. Too intense drying may result in the occurrence of creasing and loss of flexibility.
The child should not wear moist shoes. Such shoes are an invitation for bacteria, fungi and moulds.
Removable inserts placed in most shoes manufactured by MB should be cleaned once a week using water with soap and subsequently dried