Back to School Shoe Shopping

It’s that time of year again – the weather is starting to change and the kids are returning to school. This means new classes, new school supplies, and new shoes. While children may be focused on style, there are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing a proper shoe that will help keep your child’s feet healthy and happy:


  1. Fit is key: Children’s feet are constantly growing, typically changing every few months. A shoe that is too large or too small can cause pain, blisters, and potentially other short and long term problems. Make sure to have their feet properly measured by a professional before purchasing any foot wear. Don’t forget to bring socks when shoe hunting.
  2. Buy for the larger foot: Feet are rarely the exact same size. Purchase shoes fitted for the larger foot. Try to avoid shopping for shoes first thing in the morning, as feet tend to swell over the course of the day.
  3. Not all shoes are created equal: Especially when buying for sports, a shoe should have a sturdy heel. The shoe should also have structure, bending primarily at the ball of the foot, not the arch.
  4. Say no to sharing footwear: Much like adults, even though two children may measure the same size, the shape of their feet may differ, and a previously worn shoe has likely conformed to its original owner. Older shoes will also lose their support and cushioning. Sharing can also spread athlete’s foot or nail fungus.
  5. Shop together: Let your child participate in shopping for their shoes. This promotes healthy foot habits as they age and helps ensure a proper and comfortable fit. Try to avoid shopping online to avoid issues with fit and sizing – there is no replacement for walking in the shoes at the store to help assess comfort.
  6. No “break-in” needed: Childrens shoes should fit appropriately and be comfortable immediately.


Be mindful of areas of irritation, blistering, and uneven shoe wear. Less obvious signs that there may be an underlying issue include tripping, falling, and decreased participation in sports. A podiatrist is specially trained and experienced in treating lower extremity conditions and ailments. Please contact your local FASMA provider if you have any concerns that may require evaluation.

For students who wear adult sizes, Richey & Co. Shoe stores have trained associates who can fit your child into proper fitting footwear.


Foot and Ankle Surgeon Dr. Man ChoDr. Man Cho works in our Reston, VA office.

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