It’s back to school time where parents and care givers everywhere are out buying uniform, books, shoes and lunchboxes.

Children’s feet are constantly changing – and the shoes they wear need to be durable, supportive, and well fitted. Here are some common mistakes when choosing school shoes (and how you can avoid them).

Mistake number one: Insisting the shoes fit for a whole year.

You probably remember being that kid whose parents bought shoes a size up to grow into them or refusing to replace them when they get worn out. The team at Posture Podiatry say this is a big no no.

“School shoes are worn almost every day. They are stomped on, scuffed, splashed and buried in a sandpit”. And that’s probably just on a good day. As shoes wear out, it’s important to replace them immediately.

It’s not unusual for a child to go through a rapid growth spurt – which may mean new shoes are required in the middle of the school year.

Make sure you keep this in mind (and in budget) when purchasing school shoes at the start of the year. According to the team at Trevor Lane podiatry, children’s feet can grow up to 17 sizes in their first 12 years!

Mistake number two: getting the fit wrong.

This is the most important factor to get right when purchasing children’s shoes – and staff at your local shoe shop are trained to help you out. If kids’ shoes are too small, this can result in pain in the short term and long-term problems down the track. Shoes that are too big can cause discomfort and be a tripping hazard.

According to the experts, as children grow, the goal is to have shoes with sufficient room to accommodate some growth, but not too much. The general rule is a thumbs width clearance at the end of the longest toe, generally the first but sometimes the second toe. The shoe should also be wide enough in order not to compress the sides of the front of the foot.

Avoid getting the wrong fit, by making sure you take your child shopping with you and ask for advice if needed.

Mistake number three: buying shoes that are not fit for purpose

This can be a tricky one. We just told you to take your child shopping with you (see mistake number two), but then they’re going to want input on choosing their shoes. So, this might take some negotiation. According to the team at Entire Podiatry, key features of a good shoe include

  • A firm heel with some padding
  • Good support fastenings (laces are the best – but can be tricky for younger children)
  • Insoles that are soft, comfortable and easily removable
  • A deep and roomy toe for good toe protection
  • Rubber soles that bend at the toe and with decent tread to help prevent slipping

Mistake number four: forgetting about some new socks

Remember that last year’s socks may well have taken a battering, and if your child foot has grown (see mistake one and two) – a few new pairs of socks are probably in order.

It’s a good idea to buy these before your child’s shoes and take a pair in when your child is trying on their new shoes.

Mistake number five: not getting professional advice when required

If you’ve got concerns about your child’s feet, or want more assistance, seeking professional advice is a must. Undiagnosed foot pain can lead to long lasting, and major problems. So, getting help at the right time is vital. You can search for specialists and practitioners in your area using our ‘Find a provider’ tool.

We know it’s been tough for many members to use their extras in 2020 and 2021. That’s why here at Latrobe Health Services, we rolled over 2021 extras benefit limits on general dental and many allied health services. Check your cover and benefits limits by logging into the Latrobe Health Services App or on our website.

And happy back to school to all our younger members.