How much growth room should I allow for my child?
As Podiatrists, research tells us that anywhere from 8mm – 18mm growth room is optimal. This is only a guide and can vary from child to child. For younger children (pre-school age) we generally suggest a little less growth room while they are still establishing their gait, and it can be detrimental to their development to have a shoe that is too large on their foot. This guide however, is generally suitable for children once they’re of primary school age. Our Skobi Fit Guide will automatically select shoes for you (allowing for this growth room) based upon your child’s foot length in millimetres. A great way to check how much growth room your child has is to take out the insole, have your child stand on it, and check the distance from their longest toe to the end of the insole. As a rough guide you should have about a thumb’s width.
My child has orthotics. Will I need to go up a size?
The range of orthotics varies greatly, as will the density and the thickness, so just how much room the orthotics take up will depend on the type of orthotic that your child is prescribed. Your Podiatrist should check that the orthotics are the correct fit inside your child’s school shoes. If you are purchasing school shoes without your orthotics on hand, we would typically suggest you choose a wider (deeper) style that will provide greater allowance for the orthotics, and if you are between sizes (for example, if our Fit Guide suggests you could be a 30 or 31) then we would recommend you choose the larger of the suggested sizes.
How long will my child’s shoes last?
On occasion, children will outgrow their shoes before they outwear them. This however, will depend on how often your child is wearing the shoes. The average school shoe is built to last approximately 700 hours of wear – that’s about 6 months of weekday wear. One main consideration to the longevity of shoes is how hard your child is on them. As Podiatrists, we regularly see children with atypical biomechanics who place excessive stress on their footwear and coincidentally outwear their shoes in rapid fashion. On the other hand, some children wear their shoes so gently, they may last an entire year. Children may fall anywhere along this spectrum. If you are unsure about your child’s wear pattern on their shoes, or their biomechanics, we suggest you seek Podiatric opinion.
Another factor in reducing the wear of school shoes is wearing ill-fitting shoes. Shoes that are too big will cause the foot to move excessively inside the shoe, and in turn, cause excessive wear. Similarly shoes that are too small will cause excess pressure in ‘tight-spots’.
Lastly, incorrect footwear selection can play a large part in a shoe’s longevity. Your child’s footwear selection should be based upon their activity levels. If your child is running around and kicking balls in their school shoes, then you should choose a more hardwearing, robust style. On the other hand, a more sedentary student who perhaps changes into joggers for running around/sports may choose a more formal style with more supple leathers designed for gentle wear.
How do I select the best shoe for my child?
Selecting the best shoe for your child can be difficult. Here are a few key tips to ensure you’re making a good selection:
- Choose a style that most suits your child’s activity levels (for example, if they’re really tough on their shoes you may want to consider a style with a robust toe-bumper).
- Ensure you have the correct fit. Your child will not benefit from shoes that are too big or too small. If you have questions about the fit, feel free to contact us for guidance.
- Choose a style that your child likes. There is nothing worse than your child not wanting to wear their school shoes. Let your child participate in the selection process. It sometimes requires compromise on everyone’s behalf to find something that both you and your child agree upon.
- Consider the construction and composition. For some children, the weight of the shoe matters. Some Skobi styles are specifically engineered to be lightweight, while others are heavier and more robust. Skobi also offers a range of different compositions, varying from minimal stitching/seams in the Simple range through to robust textile/leather blends in the Sport range.
Can I hand down shoes to younger siblings/friends?
As a general rule we don’t recommend passing shoes onto others unless you’ve first had the shoes checked by your Podiatrist. Individual mechanics can cause unfavourable wear patters in shoes (often very quickly), which may in turn cause problems for the receiver of the handed-down shoes. A Podiatrist will be able to assess the shoes for structural stability and wear.
Why is good quality footwear important for my child?
Studies have shown that good quality footwear positively affects the running and walking gait of children. On average, most children spend upward of 1,000 hours per year in their school shoes, making school shoes the most important footwear consideration for children. The effects of ill-fitting shoes have been widely demonstrated and may present as either skin (blistering, pressure spots etc) or mechanical (toe-walking, in-toeing, toe deformities etc) concerns.