Why Good Shoes are Important For Growing Feet

Author: Monique Milne (Director and Clinical Podiatrist @ Well Heeled Podiatry)

Children’s feet, which are growing and developing, are not just smaller versions of adult feet. They are more cartilaginous, with fewer bones than adult feet. The bones in a toddler's foot are also softer and more pliable than an adult's bones. 

As children grow, their feet will go through various stages of development, including the formation of arches and changes in foot shape.

In addition, toddlers' feet are typically wider and rounder than adult feet, and they have a thicker layer of fat on the sole of the foot to help cushion their steps. As children grow, their feet will generally become narrower and longer, and the fat layer on the sole will become thinner.

This is why It is so important to choose the right shoes for toddlers that fit properly and support their developing feet. Proper footwear can help prevent foot problems and promote healthy foot development as they grow into adulthood.

When Should My Child Wear Shoes?

It is generally recommended that children wear shoes when they go outside, especially if they are walking on hard or rough surfaces, or in areas where there may be hazards such as rocks, sharp objects, or debris.

Shoes can provide protection for your child's feet, and they can also help prevent injuries such as cuts, scrapes, and bruises. In addition, shoes can provide support for your child's developing feet and help promote healthy foot development.

When selecting shoes for your child, it's important to choose shoes that fit properly and are appropriate for the activity or terrain they will be walking on. 

However, it's also important to allow your child to go barefoot at times, as this can help with sensory development and improve balance and coordination. Just make sure that they are in a safe and appropriate environment, such as inside the house or soft sandy beach.

This is why I recommend Attipas shoes as you can have the best of both worlds!

Attipas shoes are scientifically designed to mimic barefoot walking, whilst providing protection to the toes and soles of the feet. They have a  wide forefoot, non-slip sole and breathable upper to help keep your child's feet cool and dry.

What To Look For In Toddlers Footwear

When it comes to footwear for toddlers, there are several things to consider to ensure that they are comfortable, safe, and supportive:

  1. Choose shoes that fit properly: Toddlers' feet grow quickly, so it's important to measure their feet regularly to ensure that their shoes fit correctly. Shoes that are too small can cause discomfort, while shoes that are too big can lead to tripping and falling.
  2. Opt for breathable materials: Toddlers' feet sweat more than adults' feet, so it's important to choose shoes made from breathable materials such as leather or mesh to help keep their feet cool and dry.
  3. Choose shoes with a flexible sole: Toddlers' feet are still growing and developing, so it's important to choose shoes with a flexible sole that allows their feet to move naturally.
  4. Avoid shoes with heel elevation: Toddlers should not wear shoes that are flat, as shoes with any heel elevation can throw off their balance and increase their risk of falling.
  5. Avoid hand-me-down shoes: While it may be tempting to pass down shoes from older siblings or friends, it's best to avoid hand-me-down shoes as they may not fit properly or may be worn out.

In summary, when selecting footwear for toddlers, choose shoes that fit well, provide good support, are made from breathable materials, have a flexible sole, and do not have heels.

When Should Your Child See a Podiatrist?

There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate it's time to take your child to see a podiatrist, including:

  1. Pain in the feet or legs: If your child complains of pain in their feet or legs or experiences discomfort while walking, running, or playing, it's important to see a podiatrist to determine the underlying cause.
  2. Abnormal walking pattern: If your child walks with an unusual gait, such as walking on their toes or limping, it may be a sign of a foot or leg problem that requires podiatric evaluation.
  3. Frequent tripping or falling: If your child frequently trips or falls while walking or running, it could be a sign of a balance or coordination issue that requires podiatric evaluation.
  4. Uneven shoe wear: If your child's shoes wear out unevenly or quickly, it could be a sign of an underlying foot or leg problem that requires treatment.
  5. Ingrown toenails or warts: If your child has persistent ingrown toenails or warts on their feet, a podiatrist can provide treatment to alleviate the discomfort and prevent further complications.
  6. Developmental concerns: If your child has a foot or leg deformity or a developmental concern such as flat feet or high arches, a podiatrist can provide guidance and treatment to promote proper development.

In general, if you notice any concerning changes in your child's feet, legs, or gait, it's a good idea to seek the advice of a podiatrist. A podiatrist can provide a thorough evaluation and develop a treatment plan to address any issues and promote your child's foot health.

Monique Milne is Director and Clinical Podiatrist @ Well Heeled Podiatry located at 1/362 Hampton St, Hampton 3188. Ph:  (03) 9603 0334.