Proper footwear for kids is crucial

Five-year-old Sarah Davey's feet grow so fast, her mom has a money saving shoe strategy.

"When it's time for her to go up in size she has too much space, and her foot moves around a lot. But you want to buy shoes with room to grow," said Kris Davey.

Buying shoes with "room to grow" is a common practice, but it could cost more in the long run. A new Swedish study of 250 children finds nearly 70-percent of kids were wearing shoes too small or too big.

"It can lead to problems like: hammer toes, bunions, and fatigue in both legs," said Dr. Futenma.

This could plague kids until adulthood. Podiatrist Claire Futenma says kids feet grow faster than you might think.

  • Under 16 months: Shoe size increases a full size every two months
  • Up to 2 years: A half a size every 2 to 3 months
  • Up to 3 years: A half size every 3 or 4 months
  • From 3 to 5: A half size every four months
"I wouldn't rely on the shoe size that the manufacturer is giving you," said Dr. Futenma.

In the study, 90-percent of shoes were smaller than stated by the manufacturers. The rule of thumb, leave an index finger's width from the top of the big toe to the end of the shoe. And before you buy, give the shoes a little twist.

"Look for stability in the shoe. Make sure it doesn't twist sideways and you want a stable heel," said Dr. Futenma.

Podiatrists say barefoot is best, but when they do wear shoes you want to make sure that the shoe is flexible all the way to the heel.

"You really don't need a shoe that has arch support, and you don't need a stiff shoe. You need something that is very flexible," said Dr. Futenma.

While Sarah's feet aren't growing as fast a toddler's, they're still growing.

Her mom now knows new shoes don't have to be expensive, they just have the proper fit and flexibility.



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