Tips for selecting the right school/sports shoe

Is your child the run all lunchtime or read or lunchtime type? It is important to match the shoe with the type of activities your child enjoys as well as the season. Here at Trybe we carry the whole range. Things to consider include;

 1. Lace up, self fastening, slip on or Mary Jane/T - Bar? Shoe laces, buckles and Velcro are all equally good, but avoid slip-on shoes that can't be adjusted.

2. Shoe material - Leather uppers tend to last longer than synthetic ones and let your child's feet breathe (although shoes or trainers with synthetic 'mesh' uppers can be very breathable too).

3. Cushioning - whilst this is important throughout life it is particularly important between the ages of 8 -11 for girls and 10-14 for boys. These are the most common ages we see in the clinic who are experiencing foot and/or leg pain. Your Trybe shoe fitter will be able to advise the most appropriate shoes for cushioning and support.

4. Toe room - Is there about 1cm of growing room (no more!) between the end of their longest toe and the end of the shoe. Can your child wiggle their toes freely in the shoes, both up and down and side to side?

5. Bring your child's old school shoes to the fitting. A worn school shoe can indicate if your child is having problems with their gait or if they need to be assessed by a Podiatrist. The Trybe fitter will make observations and advise the most appropriate shoe based on support, tread and cushioning. If the shoe is worn down unevenly, this could mean your child has a mechanical imbalance in their feet and may need orthotics.

6. Educate your children early on that comfort is more important than style - I normally end a consult with a school aged patient emphasizing the importance of choosing comfort over style when it comes to their school shoes. This mentality is encouraged and reinforced well before their first fitting of school shoes and re-iterated as the years fly by.

7. In essence a good traditional school shoe should feature:

- a small elevation at the heel and the sole be lightweight and durable

- good quality leather that is breathable and durable

- narrow to wide fitting options in the forefoot, with appropriate square-toed shape

- a removable insole that provides shock absorption, comfort, orthotic accommodation and an option to create additional space

- a supportive heel counter made from durable leather without blistering or excessive bending

- well stitched or glued for additional durability

- a fastening mechanism i.e. laces or Velcro

Investing in a good school shoe that fits appropriately has a multitude of physical, social, financial and performance benefits. If your child is complaining of tired legs, is tripping regularly, is experiencing pain at night, during, or after activity, or their shoes are wearing down unevenly, consulting with a podiatrist for a gait assessment and potentially additional foot support is recommended.