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How to choose shoes?

How to choose healthy and appropriate children’s footwear?
The choice of footwear is of great importance, like another health factor. The growing feet of the babies require special attention. The mission of the shoes for babies who still don’t walk is only to warm them, not to hold them. For those who walk is also essential to allow the movement of the joints of the foot. They must respect the physiology, the biomechanics and ultimately, the logic of the human body, especially when there are no deformities or pathologies that may explain the choice of another kind of corrective shoe. 
    The ankle: the shoe must arrive up to below the outer ankle. If it is a boot, it must be flexible enough to allow the complete movement of the joint of the ankle.
    The sole: it is essential to let that the front foot area moves freely thanks to a flexible sole.
   The insoles: all the children have a physiologically normal flat foot before they start to walk. It is later, when they learn to stand, when the arch of the foot starts to appear thanks to the muscle action (anterior tibial, plantar short flexor, adductor of the first finger). If the arch of the foot is maintained artificially through the footwear, we will be inhibiting the action of these muscle-tendon fibers whose mission is to sustain the arch of the foot. Conclusion: the insole of the footwear must be flat and flexible.


1. The shoe must let the joint of the ankle free (raise and lower the foot)
2. The shoe must be flexible. We have to be able to bend the front part of the sole easily with the hand. The size of the shoe must be wide and long enough, so that it allows the movement of the fingers and they do not have to touch the front part of the shoe. Draw and cut in case of doubt the outline of the child’s foot on a cardboard or paper and buy later a shoe that fits well in this silhouette.
3. The materials must be as natural as possible to allow the transpiration of the feet: leather, hide, cork, cotton (canvas), etc.
4. The most adequate model is a shoe which adapts well to the foot, namely with cordon or Velcro on the instep. Flip flops or flat shoes are not recommended, also because the feeling that the shoe is coming off in every step forces the fingers to do an extra effort in this unnecessary “grip”. 

Note: also when we choose the right footwear, we shouldn’t forget that shoes and slippers are only for a few hours per day. At home the feet must be even more free: socks or something similar would be enough for the youngster of the family (only to keep the feet warm). 

Source: Pilar Velasco Climent, physiotherapist, specialized  in GPR (Global Posture Reeducation), in her article “Children’s footwear. Which footwear should we choose for our children?”, published in the Nursing Journal of the University of Castilla la Mancha.
Complete article (only in Spanish):





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