What is the secrets in buying shoes? How do you buy your or your kids’ shoes? Many of us have zero attention on how to choose the right shoes, rather we buy a pair of shoes by the appearance and the price.
Also, most of the time, we are influenced by many shoes companies that are overly advertising that misguide us to buy the wrong pair shoes. The secrets to pick the best for your kids need to be based on: bio mechanics, forefoot shapes, foot types, activities, and lifestyle.
Biomechanics-How do they walk
Are your kids walking funny, feeling imbalance or feet are turning in while walking? These problems can be due to genetics, leg length discrepancy, or their walking and sitting posture.
Whether one of the which is the cause, it would be highly recommended consulting with a podiatrist before things are getting serious. A podiatrist will examine and study the way they walk, assess the overall gait patterns, check for muscles activation and joint range of motions.
On the other hand, a pair of right shoes can do a little of wonder to improve their biomechanics. Most of the time, what they need is a firm Orthotics in a pair of supportive shoes.
Identify Forefoot shapes
There are four type of forefoot shapes: Angled, Square, Round and Morton.
With Angled forefoot, big toe will be the longest, with the other toes slanting in a downward angle.
With Round forefoot, there is an obvious curve across the toes. The contour of the shoe from the big to the little toe needs to be curving outwards to ensure that the ends of the 2nd and 3rd toes are not under stress.
With Morton forefoot, the longest toe is either the 2nd or 3rd, with the other toes shorter and tapering down. It should be fitted same with a Round forefoot shape, based on the longest toe.
With Square forefoot, the 2nd and 3rd toes are typically the similar length to the big toe, with the 4th and 5th toes shorter.
One trick in choosing shoes
If it is hard to identify the forefoot shape, a trick in choosing the suitable shoes is to take out the inner sole of the shoes and stand on them. See whether all the toes are inside the inner sole, with only one thumb extra space left from the longest toe, then that will be the ideal length for the feet.
Identify Foot types
For Narrow/Wide feet, same tip from above is applicable when fitting the shoes, by matching the inner sole with the feet, this can guide you to have the ideal width of the shoes. Also, take note that to make sure the room inside the shoes is not too spacious (for narrow feet) and not too squeezy (for wide feet) after lacing up the shoes.
For example, Asics shoes are more designed for narrow feet and New Balance are more designed for wide feet, depending on the shoes model.
For High Arch feet, it is best to be supported to the ideal arch height in order to let the weight and walking pressure been evenly distributed throughout the feet. Imagine a model is wearing a pair of super high heels shoes, her weight is only been carried by her forefoot and her heels, that would probably cause ache and pain in her feet after a long day of walking and standing. This is the same scenario to high arch feet.
For Flat feet, the bone of the feet are more collapsed down, near to complete contact with the ground. They will have higher risk in developing knee, hip and back pain. Having said that, it is common for infants and children to have flat feet. It is possible for them to develop higher arches throughout their adolescence and into adulthood.
However, early intervention such as Orthotics fitting or supportive footwear can help to support the flat feet, minimizing the bone to bone grinding of the feet and to correct the overall body alignment.
It is obvious to identify the foot types, but sometimes it can be tricky without being assess by a podiatrist. Another tip for saving your money is that Do Not buy a pair of orthotics from a chemist. It can be cheaper, softer and convenient, but it just won’t do the work properly.
You would be better seeing a podiatrist and buying a good pair of orthotics.
How active are they?
With all the information above, it is really depending the type of activities and lifestyles of your kids. Some has no pain with flat feet as they are not active in sport, or they have more flexible tendons and ligaments, whereas some has muscle ache with high arch when doing sports.
Some kids prefer not to be active due to the pain and ache in the feet or legs. Even though your kids might be perfectly fine with the feet types and the shoes they are wearing, it will only do good for them to have a pair of suitable and supportive shoes.
Final tip: It is cheaper to buy shoes online, what you can do is to go to a store for the sizing and testing the shoes out (really walking and jumping for 10 minutes) to make sure it is comfortable (most important). When your kids are happy, take note of the brand and size, go online then save!
The ultimate goal
At the end of the day, I hope you are able to make the right decision to buy the right shoes for your kids, and being able to guide them on what to look for when buying a pair of good shoes. I will include some recommended shoes by podiatrist next and how to test out the shoes for the ideal supportive.
These information are also applicable to you, the reason I focused on children because problems can be preventable or delayed by having the right shoes in early age. If you have any questions, comments below and I will try my best to help you out!