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Passing down school shoes… to do or not to do….

Families these days incur so many expenses… and they’re not looking to let up any time soon. School fees, insurances, electricity bills, school camps, feeding the troops… the list goes on and on. And the worst time of year? Well, that’s typically January… right before school resumes and after having spent way too much on the annual hosting of Christmas parties and gift giving. So, of course it only makes sense that we might want to find a way to save a dollar or two.

Passing school shoes down to younger siblings and friends is often cause for debate between parents and friends. And a justifiable one too… because it serves as a great way to save a dollar (or two!).

As a podiatrist I’m often asked this question, and it literally tears me in two! You see, with my ‘parent’ hat on, I can completely see the sense in passing school shoes on… not only is it a fabulously sustainable thing to do, but it also saves an additional purchase on the (already too frequently used) credit card which in turn saves us a few dollars in dreaded bank fees!

But with my ‘podiatrist’ hat on, I can much more readily justify the 50c per day that a good school shoe may cost, because… well… I can rest assured that I’m doing the right thing by my child. Research shows us that good quality footwear positively affects the gait, growth and mechanics of our child’s feet and legs. And… there’s several studies out there that discuss the consequences of ill-fitting footwear. But I don’t need to sit down and read through the paper to justify the logic to myself, because I see it each and every day in our podiatry clinic. Shoes that are too small causing blistering, lesser toe deformities and gait anomalies. Shoes that are too big causing tripping and falling… not to mention the after effects of this among the school kids!

So whilst I don’t vehemently rule out the passing on of second hand school shoes to younger siblings and friends (because clearly a mediocre school shoe is better than no school shoe at all) I do suggest you consider doing the following:  Ask your podiatrist to check if they’re appropriate to be passed on. It only takes a moment, and the Podiatrist can check for structural integrity and wear patterns, whilst also checking they are in fact the right shoe for that younger sibling.

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