The Dreaded School Shoe.
It’s at this time of year that you’ll be looking at your child’s school shoes and wondering how it is they seem to be worn-out already!
School shoes may be the most frequently used type of footwear for any child, so it is entirely possible they’ll need to be replaced throughout the school year.
In the clinic, we often see foot and leg problems that are compounded by ill-fitting or worn-out footwear. This might include heel pain for young boys, ankle pain for young girls and knee pain for teenage girls. School footwear has an important role to play in the prevention of these sorts of problems.
The temptation with school shoes is to go with the cheapest ones. They are going to wear out anyway right? Unfortunately, not all are built the same and some don’t even last a few months.
A decent black school shoe, from brands such as Clarks and Ascent, will typically cost in the range of $80 to $150. They aren’t all lace-up either. Some have buckles for those kids who don’t like the lace look, or velcro-fastening and designed in the style of runners for primary school children.
For most kids, its best to buy footwear based on the fit, weight and support. School shoes should fit well. Stating the obvious perhaps. Poor fit means poor function. Often we’ll see shoes that are too loose around the ankles and heels, or not deep enough to accommodate the foot correctly. The need to be secure, so ensure your kids have them well done-up. It’s for that reason you should avoid buying shoes that are too big, thinking they’ll grow into them. Chances are they’ll be worn out before they have grown anyway.
Look for lightweight soles. Compare it with the weight of a running shoe. If it feels particularly heavy in comparison, avoid it. Don’t make them lug around heavy shoes, particularly if they do a fair bit of walking or running around in them.
Finally, they should support the feet in a manner that reflects the foot-type. A flatter foot may need a shoe with more stiffness at the middle of the sole and be a bit wider at the arch. A higher-arched foot might not need the additional support but instead require more cushioning to allow for the high weight-bearing areas of the heel and forefoot.
While it may feel like you are constantly forking out for a new pair of shoes, the right school shoe, maintained in the right condition and changed over at the right time, might actually save money in medical bills. – Chris Vaughan, Lake Health Group Podiatrist