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Foot Health: With kids about to head back to school, here are some tips for shopping for the right shoes

By Dr. Jamie Settles Carter
Special to KyForward

The development of a child’s foot is critical to ensure that they are able to enjoy a happy and healthy day at school.

Whether they are a growing weed in daycare or attending grade school, we can help provide them with the best foot care to take on the school year with.

Follow these guidelines and read below for our recommended brands.


• Shoes that don’t fit properly can aggravate the feet. Watch for signs of irritation.
• Always measure a child’s foot before buying shoes.
• Too big is just as bad too small. Buy the shoe that fits your child now, not one to grow into!
• Never hand down footwear. Sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
• Examine the Heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves.
• Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately.

Recommended Brands

New Balance

• Styles available in medium, wide, and extra wide
• Removable insoles


• Generous toe box to allow toes to move
• Light and flexible
• Machine washable – they have more stitching than many shoes on the market today. Many shoes use a cement glue that doesn’t hold up in the wash machine that well.


• Fun interchangeable tabs to create a custom look
• Removable insoles & different length tabs to accommodate narrow or wide feet

One of the reasons we love the above brands is because they have a removable insole in case your child wears over-the-counter inserts like Powersteps (yes – they make a kid version and they’re so cute!) a semi-custom orthotic like Little Steps. These brands have a nice, finished base so the toes aren’t rubbing on cheap material underneath.

Keen or Teva Sandals

• Protects the toes and tops of feet
• Provides strong and flexible arch support

Are there other brand options? Absolutely! However, as podiatrists, it is our duty to educate you on the best footwear for your child. These are just some of our all time favorites.

If you feel overwhelmed by all of the options out there, boutique shoe stores like Howard Curry Shoes have on-site fit specialists. Don’t think high pressure sales people, they are more like experienced shoe and fitting experts that take the guess work out of the process and put your mind at ease.

Of course, we always recommend that if you’re bringing your child to the podiatrist, bring the shoes they wear the most so that we can inspect wear patterns and see how they are accommodating their particular foot type.

We wish you happy shopping and a happy school year.


Dr. Jamie Settles Carter is a Podiatrist and partner at Lexington Podiatry

For more Foot Health columns, click here.

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