Best foot forward – time for new school shoes

How does it all go by so fast?  One minute we are packing away the school uniform and the next realising that our children have grown at least six inches in the last six weeks and they need completely new kit including their shoes: and so the arguments begin!

Young girl in front hallway fixing shoe and smiling

School shoes have long been a bone of contention between parent and child!  Children will naturally want the same as their idols and peers, whilst parents will want them to wear something completely different.  So, how do we solve this?

Firstly, let’s look at why shoes really do need some careful consideration.

Did you know that?

  • A shoe that is too rigid or too tight can change the shape of your child’s foot.
  • Around 70% of foot problems come from wearing the wrong footwear or ill-fitting shoes.
  • A child’s feet develop until he or she is about 18 years old.
  • A child’s feet grow in spurts and often require new shoes every 3 to 4 months.
  • Children change the way they walk as they age and develop.  Watch a two year old and notice the difference between their gait and that of an older child.

So, well fitted shoes are a must to prevent problems in the future.  To ensure new school shoes fit, timing is crucial:   too soon in the holiday period and you might get caught out by a growth spurt.  Right now, about 2-3 weeks before returning to school is fine.  Make sure you get your child’s and teenager’s shoes fitted properly by a trained fitter who measures both the width and length of their feet.  If they wear socks as part of their uniform, make sure they keep their socks on!

Younger children run around a lot, up to 18,000 steps a day apparently, so shoes with a flexible sole are great.  This type of sole can help absorb the impact on the feet and joints of the body.  To do this, the sole should be stable at the back and flexible at the front.  Soles that are too stiff, too flexible or too thin can be detrimental and cause pain.  Don’t forget fastenings should be secure enough to stop shoes slipping, but easy enough for younger children to remove and replace them.

Many shoe specialists are aware of the need to marry the fashion and development needs so shoes are likely to appeal to children and parents alike.  They provide fully trained fitters and sometimes an appointment system so you can pick your own time to shop.

In order to reduce any discomfort from initially ‘wearing in’ the shoes, try to persuade your child to wear the shoes around the house for short periods in the lead up to going back to school.  The shoes may have an initial stiffness which causes some minor discomfort – this should ease with wear.  However if your child complains of foot pain continually, please be aware there are reasons for foot pain in children which are not connected with new shoes!  The foot has 26 bones in it, numerous ligaments, tendons and muscles and given the rough treatment we all tend to give our feet, whether young or old, it is not surprising that sometimes they are painful.


The McTimoney Chiropractic Association will be able to advise you the nearest McTimoney chiropractor to you, all of whom will be qualified to treat children of all ages. You can also use the search facility at

One Response to Best foot forward – time for new school shoes

  1. Pete says:

    Picking the right school shoes it so important, our kids spend the majority of the day in them and damaging their foot health is the last thing we want as parents. I wore shoes that didn’t fit properly as a child and now I have an irregular walk. We buy Start Rite shoes for our children ( and are a big advocate of their ethos.

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