It’s that time of year. And while many things are a little different this year, the most important fundamentals remain the same. Kids’ feet grow. They wear flip-flops all summer. Time for ‘back-to-school’ shoes. The temptation may be to take the position: “Oh gee, she’s just going to grow out of them. I’ll just buy the cheap shoes for her.”
While not all expensive shoes are good/healthy, most low price children’s footwear represent some of the worst investments you will ever make in the next generation.
For girls, roughly ages 4 to 16, boys, ages 4 to 19, their bones are in their ‘greenstick’ phase. Like a tree branch in its green phase, this is when it is flexible, bendable. Their bones are surprisingly malleable. NOW is when you CAN make a difference. After these ages, you are not able to change much, only support and try to compensate for earlier shortsightedness. NOW is when you should be spending the most on your kid’s footwear.
Look for solid heel counters, a midsole platform that is medium to firm, and certainly not full of ‘air.’ Looking for serious parental bonus points? Starting around kids size 4, consider aftermarket upgrade footbeds, or ‘over-the-counter’ orthotics – child or adult, often the smartest dollars you can spend in a shoe store.
Your wise investment is quickly flushed if shoes are not snuggly tied, then ***untied*** before taking them off. Seemingly small but valuable action and opportunity to give them a daily compliment. We should all note the little things.
Start with these guidelines and you will give the next generation the opportunity to be active, healthy, happy, and more able to take care of you later!
Gary Richter is a manager of the locally owned New Balance store in Maple Tree Place, Williston. Gary has a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. His colleague Sara LaBarre is a board certified pedorthist, practicing locally for 12 years.