Alas summer is all but over and with that comes preparation for back to school. For many the purchase of school items can be a hard fought battle between fashion and function, price and value.
Clothing and more especially footwear ranks pretty highly in many households as a prime area requiring careful negotiation. We thought a couple of well timed words might help with the process of navigating just such a decision.
Firstly any shoes if they are to have a hope of serving the horrors of school need to be of sound construction. Our patients get to hear this relentlessly, but you fortunate individuals who have not been subjected to this lecture, its simple, and relatively brief. Firstly a lace up shoe is vastly superior in its stability as compared to a slip on model. The one provision is that the wearer needs to do up the laces snugly, and that is each and every time they put the shoe on. Most shoes are relatively flexible across the ball of the foot, i.e., where the foot bends at toe off, and this is appropriate. Where they must not bend is in the middle of the arch, as this will cause foot fatigue and postural instability. Skateboarding shoes while hugely popular are intended for an activity which needs just that flex in the mid foot to allow contact and control of a skate board. So in the same way that soccer cleats are great for playing on turf, keep the skate shoes for skaters. Lastly the heel of the shoe! Contrary to general belief a 3/4 inch heel is proven to be much more beneficial to function and stability in the rear foot than flats. This is best demonstrated with the ballet slipper type shoe which generally results in a pronated foot (flat), toes turned outwards at toe off, and poor upper body posture. Don't believe it? Next time your in the mall look around at your fellow shoppers and check out their feet.
Not that it's a great surprise to anyone, price, brand name, star endorsement, country of origin are no indication of quality or function. Judge each shoe on its own merits, and try on different sizes. Even with some of our most well respected brand names the appropriate size for you will vary from one model to another. Last word of advice to parents remember be prepared to compromise a little, peer pressure can be a terrible thing. Conversely giving in to the latest branded sparkling, glow in the dark offerings inspired by the magic of Disney and Pixar my not be the best path for your little angel to tread upon.