Having properly fitting footwear is important for everyone, and especially important for a developing child. Boy's feet typically stop growing between the ages of 15-17 years old and girls approximately 13-15 years old.
With that in mind, the most important piece you can remember about fitting your child with the proper footwear is to know that they are not mini adults. Children are children. They are growing and changing all the time. This means that they need shoes that will allow them to adjust to those sporadic changes. The more physically active that you are as a child, the more you reduce the chance of having muscle and bone related lower extremity problems later on in life.
Stiffness in the shoe material plays a major role in the development of a child's feet. Children’s shoes should not be stiff or rigid, and should be able to anatomically flex as they walk. With increased movement, their muscle strength will improve and will ultimately have greater protection from injury over time.
When choosing a child’s shoes it is best to keep the following in mind:
- Although a shoe might be great for running, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is great for other types of athletic activities. Running shoes are built for forward movement. They are not meant for lateral or cutting movements, and often times don’t provide great lateral support
- If your child is playing multiple sports or is active in many ways, it's better to go with a versatile, cross-training type of shoe.
Some of this info may seem obvious, but it is amazing how often it can be overlooked. Next time you’re out shoe shopping for your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandkid, etc., keep this in mind.