When should you buy new shoes for your child? “Feet should be measured monthly the first year, every two months between the ages of 12 months and 24 months, every three months from 24 to 36 months and every six months thereafter,” says Dr. Ahluwalia.
If your child’s shoe looks or feels tight or has lost some of its arch support, it’s time for a new pair of shoes. If your child has a growth spurt, you may find yourself buying shoes more frequently.
“Since the older child’s feet are not growing as rapidly, the shoe construct needs to be good enough to last the six months or longer that the child may use it for,” he says.
You also must take into account the activity level of the child, for example if they walk to school or use their shoes for after-school activities you may have to buy new shoes at least every six months.
Slip-ons can be a great shoe option for children, provided that they meet the requirements in regards to breathability, support and proper fit,” says Vasyli.
Consider buying your child a pair of slip-on shoes, such as Vans slip-on shoes, but just make sure he or she also has a good pair of athletic shoes with laces as well, especially for gym class or an after-school sports event. If you are only buying one pair of shoes, athletic shoes with laces are the best bet because they give the foot more stability because they don’t stretch out as slip-on shoes tend to.
Athletic shoes with Velcro (instead of laces) are a good option for younger kids who want to put shoes on themselves without waiting for you to tie them.
Most schools don’t allow flip-flops to be worn at school — and Vasyli said they are fine for short periods of time. “Parents should be aware that cheap flip-flops usually lack any kind of structure or support for the foot — not ideal shoes for children’s growing feet,” he said. “If flip-flops are the footwear of choice, it’s also important to choose pairs with strong yet flexible outsoles to protect the bottoms of children’s feet.”
Most kids don’t develop an arch till 16 months of age,” says Dr. Ahluwalia, saying that young children’s shoes typically don’t need arch support.
If your child nears kindergarten and the foot still looks flat when standing, you can consider using some arch supports for your child, such as Arch Angels Kid’s Arch Support Insoles.
These type of arch supports should work well for most children, but if your child complains of foot pain you can have your child evaluated for custom-made orthotics.
Younger children will do fine wearing an athletic shoe with good support for a variety of sports and for gym class. As they get older, their needs will change and you will need to buy sport specific shoes, such as soccer cleats and baseball cleats.
“Younger kids typically just run around in their shoes. As kids grow, they may be involved in specific sports and these sports may require certain special shoes,” says Dr. Ahluwalia.
“Every sport by its nature has certain requirements of the footwear — for example, traction in track, stability in basketball and wear resistance in court sports. Talk to the coach to figure out what’s best for your child. Remember though, a proper fit is still essential,” he says.