12th August 2018
So we are nearing back to school time! This means new uniform and new school shoes! And this is what I want to talk about with you today. The importance of school shoes. Think about it children spend 190 days a year at school so that is, give or take a few hours, a massive 1330 hours per year! These hours should be spent in comfortable well-fitted shoes that support the feet during such a developmental stage of their lives.
Our bones are continuously growing throughout childhood and adolescence, our growth plates close between the ages of 16 and 21. Our feet are what ground us to the earth, all the forces we place through our bodies while walking, running, skipping and jumping start at the feet so should they not be properly supported ,or pushed into unnatural positions, we are starting to cause problems which could later cause knee, hip or even low back issues!
But how to know what sort of shoe to choose with so much variety?
Lets start with the basics!
Material: The shoe should be made of natural fabric and be breathable.
Shape: Remember the feet are still growing! Avoid pointed shoes or winkle pickers! The toes should all be able to move easily within the shoe. Look for something deep and wide around the toes.
Securing the shoe: Now this one applies more to female shoes, please, please avoid dolly shoes or ‘ballet pumps’. These shoes do not have a mechanism for securing the foot to the shoe. This may result in the child clawing the toes to keep the shoe on the foot or may result in the child picking a pair that are too small for them in order to keep the shoe on their foot. Ideally something with a strap across the top to keep the foot in place would be perfect!
Heel?: The shoe should have a small amount of lift at the back to naturally support the shape of the foot. Look for about a centimeter or two. We are aiming to keep a nice arch in the foot. Now don’t be getting to big a heel. If we have too much of a heel we start to alter the biomechanics of the foot again, big heels can result in the pelvis starting to tilt forward too much which then adds extra stress on the low back, hips and knees, not good!
Still confused on what you need? Most specialist shoe shops will offer a fitting service, which will keep comfort and support in mind so please use this service instead of guessing sizes.
Worried that you child may have flat feet? A specialist such as a podiatrist may be the best person to seek advice from if this is the case. The sooner you can get the correct insoles for your child the better!
Make sure your child is happy and comfortably skipping towards the school gates this September! Let’s get back to school ready!
By Dr Amie Bracey
Masters of Chiropractic