How to choose a sports shoe for your child.
With the sports season approaching I am often asked by parents what the best type of running or sports shoe is for a child and the simple answer is, the same as an adult! That said there are a few things to consider.
- They should be specific to the sport they are doing. Don’t cut corners by buying them a running shoe and asking them to use it for playing tennis, for example, as different sports load the foot in different ways and the shoe needs to be specific for those demands.
- Get a professional fitting. Kids feet are constantly changing in size and shape and it is important that the shoe is a good fit, allowing for expansion, to reduce the risk of getting unpleasant sores and blisters
- Kids will trash their shoes quicker than adults! It is an unfortunate fact of life and a strain on the wallet, but perfectly normal. However, if you notice any unusual wear patterns on the shoe, such as one shoe wearing out quicker than the other or excessive wear in a very short time period, it might be worth getting your child’s gait analysed to see if there are any biomechanical issues that might lead to injury.
- You may find a lighter shoe suits your child better. Kids are light on their feet and impact forces are generally lower as a result. Sometimes a heavier cushioned shoe can slow them down and contribute to muscle fatigue. Of course, it depends on the child’s individual needs but a useful tip is to listen to them running in different shoes. If they sound like a herd of elephants then it might be worth trying a lighter shoe to see if that improves their efficiency.
- Comfort is king. As with adults, a shoe that is comfortable is more important than the ‘right shoe’ if they hate it. Shoes that are comfortable encourage metabolically efficient movement and also saves unnecessary arguments!