Shoes are your child’s most important piece of equipment. Your child probably already has a pair of athletic shoes, but if those shoes are more than several months old, splurge on a new pair. The dollar amount is not what determines a good pair of shoes.
Visit a locally owned, independent running store and let these experts fit your child’s new pair of shoes. Let the sales person know that your child is just beginning to walk/run and then let them work with your child on the fit.
It’s important to note that shoes are much lighter these days and fit more like the foot is shaped. Toe room is essential and your child will probably wear ½ to a full size larger than their “regular” school shoes.
Follow this checklist to ensure that you’re investing in the proper footwear for your child:
- Buy shoes from reputable, locally, independent running store with salespeople who are trained to fit running shoes.
- Try on shoes after a workout or late in the day, when feet are largest.
- Have your child wear the same socks they will normally wear to work out.
- Measure their feet – your child’s feet may change in size just in a couple of months. Also, shoes by different manufacturers may be sized differently, and may differ from shoe style to shoe style.
- Children should try on several pairs of shoes. Put both shoes on, lace them up and walk (or run!) around the store for a minute or two.
- Make sure the shoes are comfortable when you put them on. Tight shoes won't "stretch out," and if the heel slips up and down in the store, it'll slip while walking/running. Blisters are not fun.
- The shoe should provide at least one thumb's breadth of space from the longest toe to the end of the toe box. Make sure the child can fully extend all toes when standing.
- Find a shoe with a wide, comfortable toe box.
- Girls with a wide foot may benefit from trying a boy’s shoe and boys with narrow feet may achieve a better fit with a girl’s shoe.
- Teach care feet. Wear socks, thick or thin, that "wick" moisture from skin, dry feet well after bathing and keep toenails trimmed, cutting straight across the toe.
- Teach your child that these shoes are for their walking and running activities only. These shoes were made for walking, as the old song goes!
Remember: function is in the fit!