5 facts about kids shoes you need to know
I have to admit, one of the things that upsets me most about the kids’ shoe industry is the age old saying “just buy them the $10 pair of shoes because they will grow out of them in a week”.
We’ve been in the shoe industry for a long time now and heard it all regarding kids shoes and what’s best. The temptation to buy cheap shoes is strong, especially in a day and age where money just doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to.
But at what cost?
As with everything cheap, there is always a catch. Usually it’s the fact that the cheap shoes will actually break before they are outgrown! But, more serious side effects can happen and many aren’t known until later in life resulting in potentially hefty orthopedic bills.
The sole is everything.
A misconception is the sturdier or harder the sole, the better for kids. This might sound like good advice, but the worst thing you can do is buy shoes with hard soles that offer little to no flexibility. Children’s feet are delicate and the small bones are still developing. Hard soles result in stress on the foot and affect the overall structural development. Rubber sole shoes with flexion allows for movement within the shoe therefore supporting the natural movement of the child’s foot.
Insoles and supports are not only for adults.
Kids feet are developing and providing the right support and shape during the early years will help their feet to carry them well into the twilight years. Arch support insoles will help to prevent flat feet, something quite common in adults. A broad last will allow for increased side-to-side stability and a firm heel counter provides further stability and rear foot motion control. Not only does a properly formed insole provide much needed support, it will also make the shoe much more comfortable to wear.
We all love a good hand-me-down, but unfortunately, shoes shouldn’t be a part of that tradition. Shoes can become worn over time and no two feet wear the same. This means when you put on someone else’s shoes, they have been molded to their feet and will therefore not fit you. Ill-fitting shoes cause stresses on the foot as supports are not where they should be and undue pressure is placed on other areas of the foot.
You have permission to be materialistic when it comes to kids shoes. The material a shoe is made out of is up there with one of the most important things to focus on. Leather is best because it is a natural material that molds and breathes. Leather stretches and softens allowing for growth and flexibility whilst also providing comfort and breathability.
Quality shoes will last longer!
At first glance, comparing a $20 pair of department store shoes and a $50 pair of let’s say, Surefit shoes for example, seems like you are comparing Red Gala apples with Granny Smith apples. Both are apples but in a different price range. In all honesty, you are more likely comparing apples and oranges – both are a fruit but that’s where the similarities end. A cheap pair of shoes are not made for quality and they are not made to last. In fact, you may very well end up buying 2 or 3 pair of cheap shoes in the same time you would have had the one pair of quality shoes.
The materials used are usually synthetic or plastic and provide little to no breathability or movement. Ever wondered why synthetic shoes crack after a few wears? Cheap shoes will also not have adequate support where it is needed most and the soles will not be a quality flexible rubber. Most cheap rubber soles come off the shoe causing a dangerous tongue effect or split at the ball of the foot. This is due to poor manufacturing and poor flexibility.
So next time you are in the market for a pair of kids shoes, have a look at the make, style and what support and features the shoe provides. Your child’s foot will thank you for it down the track.
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