January 26, 2010

Wrong size? - How to measure children's feet correctly

  • Feet can be quite moody: usually the right and left feet are different lengths, they are shorter and narrower in the morning than in the evening, and they’re longer when you’re standing than when you’re sitting or lying down. Feet need the most room when they’re in motion: the toes slide forwards with every step.
  • Children's feet need at least 12 mm (just under 1/2“) of extra space in the toe of the shoe to be able to move unrestrictedly. New shoes can have up to 17 mm (not quite 3/4“) extra “wiggle room”. This way, they should fit well for quite a few months.
  • The ideal shoe for children should be soft and pliable.
How to measure:

-Have the child stand on a piece of cardboard and trace the outline of each foot.
-Add at least 12 mm (just under 1/2“) to the length of the longest toe (for new shoes, add 17 mm, or not quite 3/4“).
-You don’t have to cut out the whole template, a strip the width of two fingers is sufficient. If the cardboard strip fits inside the shoe, then the shoe is long enough.

    The Thumb Test

    Professionals always measure with two hands. To make sure that the toes are not bent in the shoe, press the toes lightly with one hand while you measure the fit with your other hand.

    Some Facts on Growing Feet

    • Going barefoot is the best training for children’s feet: Going barefoot exercises and strengthens the muscles of the foot in many different ways. It’s also the best way to recover from wearing shoes!
    • Kids’ feet grow very fast: Between the ages of 3 and 6, children’s feet grow at an average rate of about 1 mm (0.04“) every month.
    • Children’s feet aren’t fully developed until about the age of 16.
    • Kids can’t tell if their shoes are too small. Even shoes that are markedly shorter than the foot itself are often judged by their little wearers to fit just fine. That’s why it’s important to check the fit of your kids’ shoes every 3 – 4 months.
    • Healthy feet in childhood are fundamental for a further well-balanced development. Not only that, healthy feet make exercise fun!
    • Shoes that are too short can permanently deform children’s feet.
    • Many kids already have markedly crooked big toes, caused by wearing poorly-fitting shoes.
    • Shoes that are too short in length stunt and delay the healthy development of children’s feet.

    Wrong size? – Side effects associated with improper fitting shoes

    About 98% of babies are born with perfect feet and only about 50% of them have healthy feet as adults. Why is that? The growth of child's feet is influenced by many factors. Besides genetic and hormonal factors, weight and shoes play a big role.

    Austrian researchers (team of podiatrists and orthopedists) conducted a study on the subject: "Children's Feet-Children's Shoes". They evaluated the fit of the outdoor shoes, house shoes and slippers and the health of the children feet. The results were shocking:

    • 69% of the children were wearing outdoor shoes that were too short in length, 88% had house shoes or slippers that were too small (one child was wearing shoes 5 sizes too small!).
    • Only 3% of the children shoes had the correct inner length. For example: in shoes marked size 30, the inner length was just 29, 28, 27, sometimes even only size 26.
    • For the first time it could be proven that poorly fitting shoes actually cause damage to children feet
      The Austrian Research Project on "Children's Feet-Children's Shoes" proved for the first time that shoes which are too short can have negative effects on children's feet.
      • Wearing shoes which are too short and tight distorts the natural position of the toes which results in painful joints and changes in the position of the toe joints.
      • When the toes are cramped in the shoes, it changes the natural direction of the toe muscles which results in muscle and tendon pain, inflammation and shortening of the foot muscles.
      • Shoes which are too short force the foot into an unnatural position, which can cause blood circulation problems and result in sensations of cold and numbness, vein problems (e.g. varicose veins).
      • A change in posture caused by foot injuries can result in knee, hip and back problems. Even the heart and circulatory system can be indirectly affected. Many athletic activities require healthy feet (for example jogging). Unhealthy feet can therefore lead to a reduction in physical activity, which is known to be the root of a number of disease-causing factors (lack of fitness, high blood pressure, etc.).
      The shorter the shoe, the higher the risk of developing the hallux angle (malformation of the big toe, commonly known as a bunion) is a very common and  painful condition that might require surgery.
      Children might not know that their shoes are too small. Little feet are less likely to feel pain and are more adaptable to the constricted environment. However, as they continue to develop and grow, consequences are unimaginable!

      Doctors' advice: "Children shall have Freedom without Shoes and Freedom in the Shoes!" That means that we, as parents, should pay close attention to the proper fit of our kids' shoes and also give our kids a break from the shoes.

      Follow our next post on how to properly measure child's foot.

      January 20, 2010

      Store Opening

      We are happy to announce that our online shoe store is finally open. After months of hard work and research the dream became a reality. The store is now officially open and our customers can enjoy shopping for shoes for their little children. Please visit us at http://www.shoesforlittlefeet.com/
      We offer a wide selection of shoes for babies, toddlers, and elementary school children. Subscribe to our newsletter and we will send you a promo code in the email. We hope to become your favorite shoe store.