For parents challenged with kids’ changing opinions and tastes, dealing with back-to-school shopping can be daunting. If you buy your son the wrong backpack, he’ll be the uncool kid. If you choose the wrong jeans for your daughter, she’ll be embarrassed. And while neither of these scenarios will cause any actual harm, there’s one part of back-to-school shopping where a wrong move could affect your child’s health, and that is shoe shopping. So today, Dr. Timothy Barry of Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper in Dubois County is sharing his 6 top tips to keep in mind as you tackle this task. 

Shoes are one of the essential back-to-school choices parents will make. Here are some tips for finding the best shoes for your child’s feet and live up to their wants and needs.

  1. Never share footwear. Hand-me-down shoes can spread around certain fungi like athlete’s foot. And because children’s feet are unique, a shoe that properly fits one child may not suit another child as comfortably.  Also, shoes tend to adapt to the foot of the person wearing them and may be uncomfortable for someone else.
  • Test the shoe before trying it on your child.  Test for a firm heel by pressing on both sides to make sure it doesn’t give way under pressure.  Then bend the shoe to make sure it will bend with your child’s toes without being too stiff.  
  • Go shopping with your child. It enables you to have their foot professionally measured. Have your child test the shoe for a proper fit and give you their opinion of it.  Children who know how to select a supportive, comfortable shoe may be less likely to make incorrect footwear choices as adults.
  • Shop for shoes later in the day when their feet are at their largest. By having your child’s feet professionally measured, you can determine which foot is larger than the other (one always is), so you can choose the correct size.  Also, remember to have your child wear the kind of tights or socks they will be wearing with the shoe most of the time.
  • Don’t buy shoes that require a “break-in” period.  Your child’s footwear should be comfortable right when purchased. Once the school year gets underway, check your child’s shoes for signs of wearing. Also, watch for signs of irritation because the footwear may no longer fit correctly, likely if it’s been a few months since you purchased them, during which their feet have grown.
  • Be sure your children wear shoes that are suitable for their activities.  If your child plays sports, they should wear a good athletic shoe intended for that sport. For daily wear, when kids do a lot of walking, choose a good, supportive shoe. Keep heels, sandals, and flip-flops for occasional wear only.

If your child experiences an injury or complains of foot pain, contact the office of Dr. Timothy Barry of Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper in Dubois County at (812) 481-7200 immediately to schedule a consultation.