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These components make up the strap and

laces that holds the shoe on the foot. When

using laces having more than four reinforced

eyelets is important to pull the sides of the

shoes closed. This helps to stabilise the shoe

on the foot.


These pieces make up the top half of the shoe

known as the upper. Leather usually is the best

material for the uppers of kids’ shoes. It’s

flexible, with light stability and is soft but still

hard-wearing. As it is a natural material, it also

lets air in but keeps moisture out. This helps

your children’s feet stay cool and dry in

most conditions.

Nubuck and suede are increasingly found on

modern children’s designs and are different

types of leather and share most of its benefits.

Avoid shoes with uppers made of other

materials (synthetics or plastics) as these are

often hard, inflexible and won’t allow your

child’s feet to breathe and may impede

movement and natural function.


The inside of a shoe is just as important as the

outside. The lining should be breathable which

transfers moisture away from the foot. Try to

avoid shoes that have inner seams as these

can rub and cause skin irritation.


Rubber and polyurethane are the best

materials for the soles of kids’ shoes as they

provide flexibility and are hard-wearing. This

is important to withstand the punishment most

kids put their shoes through! These materials

can also be moulded to create sole patterns

that provide great grip and design features that

appeal to children. Try to avoid shoes with soles

made of resin or leather as they don’t grip very

well and can cause slips and trips.

In any situation, the main features of a good

pediatric shoe are:

• A firm heel cup (the area of the shoes where

the heel sits)

• Slight heel elevation (no more than 3-4mm)

at heel

• Good flexibility of the forefoot (you should be

able to bend this easily with your fingers)

• Some mild stiffness of the mid-part (upper)

of the shoe

• Adequate fastenings that can be adjusted

(double Velcro, laces or strap)

• Reasonable height of heel counter or a boot

(in the case of a flatter foot type, a higher

heel cup will offer better support)

• Friction on the sole, ensure the shoes

providesufficient grip on the ground to

avoid slipping


he ‘anatomy’ of shoes is made up of the components which can be grouped into

those that make up the upper and the sole of the shoe.


Wearing shoes of insufficient length during

childhood is often cited as leading to foot

deformities, particularly the development of

hallux valgus (bunions). Klein et al (2009)

reported a significant relationship between

a larger hallux valgus angle and pre-school

children who were wearing footwear too short

in length. This is just one example as to why

assessing shoe size and fit is very important

in the developing foot. Other reasons to check

size is to prevent other problems like lesser toe

and nail disorders, blistering or formation of

hard skin due to the shoes being too tight or

too loose.


When considering size, it is important not just

to consider the length of the shoe but also the

width, depth and shape of the shoe.

Don’t get fixated on a size or number because

you may have three pairs of shoes that are

all the same size, however they will all fit your

child’s foot differently because of the style,

shape or brand.

The general rules for sizing are:


Children’s shoes need a small

gap on the end of the shoe measured for the

longest toe to allow for growth and movement.


Correct width should allow the toes

to rest flat on the inner sole of the shoe without

begin compressed.


Correct depth is important to

prevent pressure being exerted on the tops of

the toes.