Back to School Shoe Shopping Tips


It’s almost that time—soon children will be trading beach towels for tablets and getting back to school. At NY Foot Health, we know many families mark this time with the purchase of new shoes for the new school year. We believe that choosing the right shoes for your child has a significant impact on the health of their feet.

Below are some recommendations for making the best choice:

  • Get feet professionally measured. Children’s foot size can change rapidly. Have both feet measured and don’t be surprised if one foot is larger than the other is—this is common. Buy shoes that are comfortable on the larger foot.

  • Shop with your children. Even once you know the correct size, it’s essential that your children be with you when you buy shoes and that they try them on. The fit between brands and styles can vary. Make sure your child tries on both shoes and spends enough time walking around the store to determine that they are comfortable.

  • Don’t use hand-me-down shoes. As tempting as it is to save money on shoes, each person imprints shoes with his or her own wear pattern. Sharing shoes can also increase the risk of passing on a fungal infection.

  • Shop at the end of the day—that’s when your child’s feet will be at their largest and most swollen.

  • Bring the socks that will be worn with the shoes. This will ensure a more accurate fit.

  • Buy good quality, well-designed shoes. It’s an investment in the health of your child’s feet. Some features to look for include: a firm heel counter, cushioned insole, built-in arch, and sturdy tread.

  • Leave wiggle room. The toe box should be roomy enough for your child to be able to move their toes freely. There should be ½ inch of space (the width of your thumb) between the longest toe and the top of the shoe.

  • Buy separate shoes for sports. If your child is serious about a particular sport, buy shoes designed for the activity. Today’s sports shoes are designed to accommodate the specific movements of the sport.

If your child has a chronic foot problem such as Sever’s disease or plantar fasciitis, contact your podiatrist for more specific footwear recommendations. Don’t have a podiatrist? Use our online directory to find one in your community.