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Back to School Shoes

Tips to Start the School Year With the Right Pair of Shoes

It's that time of year again. The ringing of the class bell means students across the nation are heading back to school, trading in their sun block and swimsuits for books and backpacks. It is also time for parents to help their children select the all-important back-to-school shoes.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) suggests parents use a discerning eye, and remember that comfort should always come first when helping their child sift through the new and exciting footwear styles of the season. Keep these tips from the APMA in mind when shopping for new shoes:

  • Always measure your child's feet. Every shoe fits differently, and sizes vary by brand and style. It may also be necessary to change shoes every few months if your child is growing.
  • Shop later in the day. Feet expand when you walk and tend to swell throughout the day. So buy shoes in the afternoon or early evening after your child's feet have already increased in size.
  • Bring socks or tights. It's important that your child try shoes on with the same type of socks or tights that will be worn with their shoes.
  • Buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom the same size. Buy shoes that ensure comfort for both feet.
  • Check shoes for quality. First, look for a stiff heel by pressing on both sides of the heel; it should not collapse. Next, check for toe flexibility. The shoe should bend with your toes, and should not be too stiff or bend too much. Last, check to see if the shoe is rigid in the middle. It should never twist. Remember, a high-priced shoe does not indicate quality.
  • Pick shoes that do not need a "break-in" period. The shoes you purchase should be comfortable right away. If shoes are too tight, they can cause blisters, calluses or corns.
  • Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe fits one child comfortably does not mean they'll fit another the same way. Handing down shoes also encourages the growth and spreading of fungi like athlete's foot and nail fungi.

By keeping these simple tips in mind, parents can help their children choose a shoe that is right for them. For more information about finding the right shoes for your child, visit www.apma.org.

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