Although the shape and size of feet are determined by genetics, they can also be affected by other factors such as footwear. Like a potter moulding his clay, shoes can influence the shape of your foot.
Don’t start too early
Babies love a lot of things but if there’s one thing they hate, it’s shoes (at least their feet hate shoes) – especially ill-fitting shoes. It’s worth remembering that allowing a child to go barefoot for as long as possible will help development, and that walking can start anytime between ten to eighteen months. However, when shoes start to be worn, it’s essential to avoid excessive pressure on the foot, in order to avoid deformity (young feet are especially prone to this). To help ensure this, always use shoes that are soft and flexible, to allow foot development, and try to avoid tight bedclothes, as well as socks or babygrows that are too small.
Getting measurement right
The Children’s Foot Health Register advises that measurement, though important, is just the starting point. What's essential is that your child's shoes are fitted properly. Keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Certain styles suit different foot 'types', so it's vital to check the fit of each pair your child tries on.
- Because fit can differ by style, it's common for a child to be fitted with a size or width different from the measurement originally taken.
- Experience counts — make sure the person helping you is fully trained in fitting children's shoes.
Remember that, in the very young, both feet should be measured at approximately two-month intervals, and that shoes should be replaced as required by foot development, and not just when shoes start to show signs of wear. It’s also important that foot type is taken into consideration. The two typical foot types are short broad (where the foot is relatively short in relation to its width) and square forefoot (all the digits are more or less the same length). Other types of feet are unusual and include hypermobile, long inner border and long slender all of which can cause foot problems. This makes it important to ensure that children have their shoes fitted by an experienced fitter.