What’s Your Back-to-School Shoe Shopping IQ?


Buying new shoes for the first day of school is a rite of passage for many families and at NY Foot Health we want to take this opportunity to stress the importance of good shoes for maintaining the health of your child’s feet. For your student, new shoes may be all about the brand or style, but as parents, you want to ensure that your child is wearing a shoe that fits properly. Need a cheat sheet? Below is a true/false quiz to give you the information you need to choose shoes that will provide comfort and injury protection as your child starts off the new school year.

You should not buy shoes without your child trying them on.

TRUE: Children’s feet can grow up to 2 sizes in as little as six months. In addition, the same size will fit differently in different brands and styles of shoes.

If your child has one foot larger than the other you should try to buy a size that is somewhere in between the smaller and larger foot.

FALSE: It is not uncommon for children (and adults) to have one foot bigger than the other. Get both feet professionally measured and buy a shoe that accommodates the larger of the two feet.

The best time to shop for new school shoes is first thing in the morning when your child is fresh and full of energy.

FALSE: If you want to ensure that your child’s new shoes are comfortable all day long, shop at the end of the day. That’s when their feet will be the most swollen. Shoes purchased early in the day may feel tight by late afternoon.

You should press down on the front of the shoe to check where the child’s toes are.

TRUE: What parents and grandparents have been doing for decades by feeling where the toes are in the shoes is a tried and true way to ensure that there is enough space in the toe box. All of your child’s toes should be able to wiggle freely and there should be at least ½ inch (about the width of an adult thumb) between the longest toe and the front of the shoe.

There’s a “breaking in” period for new shoes where they may feel a little tight.

FALSE: This is a foot damaging myth! Your child should try on both shoes and they should feel comfortable from the moment they leave the shoe store. Shoes that are tight or pinching can cause blisters, ingrown toenails and foot pain.

If you have more questions about finding the best shoes for your child, contact your podiatrist. If you don’t have one, we can help you find one with our online directory. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter for more foot health information for your family.