Back-to-School Shoe Shopping 101


Yes, it’s that time of year when parents everywhere will be purchasing new shoes for their children to wear back to school. At Gentle Professional Foot Care, we know the importance of good shoes and want to offer some information to ensure your children’s new shoes take them straight to the head of the class:

Do Your Homework

Before you head to the shoe store, you need to do a little legwork. First, what shoes will your child need? Children’s feet grow fast (as much as 2 sizes in 6 months), so chances are the shoes they were wearing at the end of the school year will no longer fit. If, however, a pair does still appear to be the correct size, check for signs of wear such as stretched out heel counters, worn down soles and internal deterioration of the arch support and toe box, which could lead to injury and foot pain.

Also, determine if your child will need a separate pair of shoes for a sport they plan to do this fall. If your child is serious about a sport and will be practicing and playing frequently, it’s recommended that you buy a pair of shoes designed for the specific sport your child will do. Different activities require different foot movements and today’s sports shoes are created to accommodate and protect the feet for each sport. If your child has suffered a foot or ankle injury in the past, be sure to schedule a checkup with our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, before shoe shopping. We will help make sure the injury is fully healed and discuss any recommendations regarding the type of shoe you should buy.

Ace the Shoe Test

Now you’re ready to head to the shoe store. Below are tips to keep in mind:

  • Bring or have your child wear the type of socks they plan to wear with the shoes you are buying.
  • Shop later in the afternoon, if possible. That’s when your child’s feet will be at their largest.
  • Get both feet measured (be sure your child is standing and bearing full weight on their feet in order to get the most accurate measurement).
  • Check the toe box. You should be able to fit your thumb between the longest toe and front of the shoe. Ask your child to wiggle their toes—they should all be able to move freely in the shoe.
  • Have your child try on both shoes and spend several minutes walking around in them.
  • Make sure the heel is not slipping out when your child walks.
  • Examine the feet after your child takes off the shoes for red marks that may indicate areas where the shoes are too tight.

Follow these suggestions and you’ll be sure to pass the shoe shopping test with flying colors. Questions? Contact our Venice office by calling: (941) 493-7999.