Back to school season is right around the corner. While you may have your list of pencils, folders, and bookbags for the upcoming school year, grabbing a new pair of shoes ensures your little one is looking and feeling their best all year. To guarantee your child remains safe while flaunting their new kicks, here are four podiatrist-approved tips to consider while shopping.

Don’t Settle for the Wrong Size

Just because it’s the last pair, it’s on sale, or it has your child’s favorite superhero on it doesn’t mean you should settle for the wrong size. Wearing shoes that are too big or too small can cause discomfort and, in some cases, damage to the lower limbs. Buying shoes that secure the foot into place helps prevent injury and guarantee your child is not feeling any foot or ankle pain. When trying on shoes, keep in mind that shoes are not designed to be “broken-in” and should fit correctly during the initial try-on.


Know Your Child’s Needs 

If your child is active, getting the right pair of shoes can make a huge difference for their comfort and safety. Depending on the type of activity your little one prefers, find a shoe that offers the best support and functionality for optimal mobility and safety. This varies per activity and sport. For instance, a pair of well-fitting cleats guarantees a soccer player ideal grip, support, and flexibility during practice and games. Without proper footwear, injuries while being physically active are more common. Keep your child doing what they love by understanding their footwear needs for each activity they participate in this year.


Bring Your Child With You


There are times when leaving your child at home with a loved one is easier than bringing them along while running errands. When it comes to footwear, however, we recommend taking your little one with you during your next shopping trip. Have them try on shoes at the store and see what the best fit and feel for your child’s new footwear is. Keep in mind that socks can take a portion of space in a shoe. If your little one wears activity-specific socks or thicker socks during the colder months, bring those socks with you while shopping. That way, you can see if the shoe will fit them year-round.


Avoid Hand-Me-Downs 

Despite its cash-saving advantages, sharing shoes can increase your child’s chances of getting an infection or foot issue. Shoes also wear down over time, and the support they provide can deplete. Without sufficient support, your child is vulnerable to foot or ankle damage. The penny-pitching benefits of hand-me-down shoes may be intriguing but certainly not worth it, considering the chances of infection and injury.


Back-to-school season is a time for children to interact with peers, join new athletic groups, and learn new and exciting information. Giving them the gift of new shoes boosts confidence and can also help reduce the chances of sustaining an injury. If you detect changes in your child’s walking, running, or gait patterns, schedule an appointment with one of our expert podiatrists by calling (717) 757-3537 or filling out a contact form

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