Summer is quickly approaching, and it’s time to take stock of your child’s wardrobe — especially their footwear. There’s no better way to check for any changes to their feet over the long winter than with a visit to an independent sit-and-fit shoe store.
For parents readying to buy summer footwear for their kids, New York podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, a member of comfort-footwear brand Vionic Footwear’s Innovation Lab team, has seven helpful tips.
1. Have feet measured. Kids feet can grow unnoticed during the winter, said Sutera. Although shoes may still fit, it’s important to check their condition to determine if they’re in suitable shape to be worn.
2. Shoes should be specific to a child’s summer activities, advises Sutera. Cleats should always be worn when playing baseball, while aqua socks are suggested for swimming, since they can offer protection from fungus found in the water.
3. Don’t dress your child in flip-flops. Sutera advises against flip-flops since they don’t offer toe protection and can easily fall off the foot. However, they’re a good idea poolside or when showering in public places. When choosing a sandal for everyday wear, she suggests those with closed toes to protect small feet.
4. Socks are a must-have for summer. Kids should wear socks in sneakers and closed shoes, since they can absorb perspiration while creating a barrier between the shoe and skin. They also prevent the shoe from absorbing moisture from the foot, keeping it from developing odors and bacterial growth.
5. Footwear rotation is essential for both children and adults. Shoes need a chance to breath, said Sutera, to protect both the foot and the lifespan of the shoe.
6. Materials can also affect the comfort of a shoe. Sutera says to look for canvas styles that can be washed. And always run your hand along the inside of a shoe to make sure there are no exposed seams that can irritate a child’s foot, causing blisters.
7. Comfort is key. Make sure shoes are comfortable in the store. “If it doesn’t fit [your child] in the store, don’t try breaking it in,” she warns.