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Children’s Shoe Shopping Guidelines from the American Podiatric Medical Association

American Podiatric Medical Association has put together a very helpful brochure regarding children’s feet, children’s shoes, sports shoes and socks. Full brochure link is below as well as some summarized points.


Children’s Shoe Shopping Guidelines from the American Podiatric Medical Association  

Before parents invest in a new pair of children’s footwear, some foot factors need to be considered:

  1. Shoes that don’t fit properly can aggravate the feet.
  2. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes and fit the shoe to the foot.
  3. Try not to hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way.
  4. Sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
  5. Watch for signs of irritation. Redness is a sure sign that a shoe is too tight or too loose.
  6. If your child always wants to remove one or both of their shoes, this may be an unspoken sign that the shoes don’t fit properly.
  7. Examine the heels. When children begin to show in-toeing, they may wear through the heels of their shoes much quicker than outgrowing the shoes themselves.
  8. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
  9. Take your child shoe shopping. It’s important to have your child’s feet measured before buying shoes.
  10. Shop for shoes later in the day. Feet tend to swell during the day; it’s best to be fitted while they are larger.
  11. Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period. Shoes should feel comfortable immediately.
  12. Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
  13. Have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.


Playing Sports

Sports play a significant role in millions of American children’s lives, whether on a team or played as individuals. Parents should be mindful of sports that require a substantial amount of running and turning, or involve contact. These can easily translate into injuries. Protective taping of the ankles is often necessary to prevent sprains or fractures. Parents should consider discussing these matters with their family podiatric physician if they have children participating in active sports. Sports-related foot and ankle injuries become common as children increase their activities in sports.


Heel pain is one of the most common complaints among growing children who play sports. Physical activity, particularly jumping or activities requiring cleats, irritates the growth centers of the heels and is painful with side-to-side pressure. Reducing activities, immobilization and orthotics are often needed to resolve the episodes of pain. Heel pain can also be caused by foot type, and your podiatric physician will be able to determine proper treatment.



Don’t Forget the Socks!

Without the right sock, even the best athletic shoe won’t score points on or off the field. If your child exhibits signs of hyperhydrosis (excess sweating) or bromhydrosis (foot odor), selection of the appropriate athletic sock may reduce incidences of these conditions.


The right athletic sock should:

  • Be made of a natural/synthetic blend, as this helps “wick” away moisture best.
  • Not contain any large seams that can cause blisters or irritation.


Advice for Parents

  • Problems noticed at birth will not always disappear by themselves. You should not wait until the child begins walking to take care of a problem you’ve noticed It is best to take action when the child is a toddler to ensure better responsiveness to conservative treatment options.
  • Remember that lack of complaint by a youngster is not a reliable sign. The bones of growing feet are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware of it.
  • Walking is the best of all foot exercises, according to podiatric physicians. They also recommend that walking patterns be carefully observed. Does the child toe in or out or have knock knees or other gait abnormalities?
  • These problems can be corrected if they are detected early.
  • With the exception of infancy, going barefoot is not encouraged among children. Walking barefoot on dirty pavements exposes children’s feet to a variety of dangers including sprains, fractures and infection from wounds. Another potential problem is plantar a condition caused by a virus that invades the sole of the foot through cuts and breaks in the skin. They require extensive treatment and can keep children from school and other activities.
  • Be careful about applying home remedies to children’s feet. Preparations strong enough to kill certain types of fungus can harm the skin.



Dr. Zinoviy Rabinovich D.P.M., Board Certified Physician and Surgeon of Foot and Ankle – a doctor who is on time, who looks at and listens to you and not the computer, who provides immediate relief and follows through to complete satisfaction. Experience, expertise, convenience of scheduling, evening hours, and a personal innovative approach for all your and your children’s foot care needs. Northbrook 847-297-9660, Crest Hill 815-838-9505 or book online at

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