Back to School: How to Check For the Best Shoe Fit

Here are tips for buying the right shoe and learning how a shoe should fit.

School starts in Bellevue on Sept. 4, and that means it’s a good time to check children’s feet and see if they grew during the summer.

Even though the weather is warm, flip flops and other open-toed shoes may not be the best choice for school.

“Girls often want to wear shores that are cute, I know there are cute shoes out there, but they are not always appropriate for school,” said Sandie Tracy, Health Services manager of nearby Northshore School District.

If a child is going to wear sandals to school, Tracy recommends they bring a pair of athletic shoes to school for use during physical education.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, there are three things to look for in a good shoe:

  • A stiff heel, check by squeezing both sides of the heel, it should not collapse
  • The toe of the shoes should bend with your child’s foot
  • A shoe should never twist in the middle

To make sure a child (or teen) is getting the proper fit in a shoe. The APMA has these tips:

  • Examine the shoe itself. It should have a firm heel counter (stiff material on either side of the heel), adequate cushioning of the insole, and a built-in arch. It should be flexible enough to bend where the foot bends—at the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the shoe.
  • The child’s foot should be sized while he or she is standing up and fully weight-bearing.
  • There should be about one-half inch of space (or a thumb’s width) between the tip of the toes and the end of the shoe. The child should be able to comfortably wiggle his or her toes in the shoe.
  • Have the child walk around the store for more than just a few minutes wearing the shoe with a normal sock. Ask the child if he or she feels any pressure spots in the shoe. Feel the inside of the shoe for any staples or irregularities in the glue that could cause irritation. Examine where the inside stitching hits the foot. Look for signs of irritation on the foot after the shoe is worn.
  • Shoes should not slip off at the heels. Children who tend to sprain their ankles will do better with high-top shoes or boots.
  • Both feet should be measured, and if they are two different sizes, shoes should be chosen that fit the larger foot best.

For more information on fitting and choosing shoes, check the APMA website here.

Where do you go in Bellevue to buy kids' shoes? Please let us and other parents know in the comment section, and be sure to click on the link of your most (or least) favorite shoe store to write a review of their service!


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