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A child with flat feet standing on wooden platform next to the water

Children’s Foot Development: The Role of Proper Footwear in Growth Stages

Children’s foot growth is like a race against time. From wobbly steps to confident kindergarten strides, it’s tough to keep up with your kiddo’s footwear needs. The best way to do this is to divide your child’s foot development into different stages and to learn what each stage means for foot growth and shoe requirements. Let’s learn about the following age ranges:

  • Age 12 – 18 months
  • Age 2 -3 years
  • Age 4 – 8 years

Age 12 – 18 Months

Children’s foot growth really kicks in when your little one becomes a toddler and takes their first steps!

Proper footwear for toddlers should account for the fact that most of them have flat feet due to their bones, ligaments and tendons being underdeveloped. 

Moreover, healthy shoes for children in this age range should accommodate fast foot growth and your child’s quest towards walking successfully. Look for non-skid shoes (traction) with wide toe boxes so your toddler doesn’t hurt themselves and their toes can comfortably fan out while they practice balance. Shoes should also have a firm heel counter and a flexible sole to facilitate natural foot movement.

Furthermore, you should find shoes with adjustable straps and flexible material to account for the fatty tissue loss and rapid foot growth that occurs at this age. 

Age 2 – 3 Years

Before your child is ready for kindergarten, the foot arch should start forming. However, it is often not fully realized until age 6. While flat feet morph into a more normal arch, your child’s developing motor skills may also allow for more advanced closures like basic shoelaces. 

Shoe durability also becomes more important around this stage of childhood foot development, as your kiddo can now walk more independently during outdoor adventures. Look for long-lasting shoes made with high-quality materials and technologies that protect your little ones from the elements. 

Age 4 – 8 Years

When school starts, kids’ shoe selection becomes a little more overwhelming. Accounting for foot growth, durability and traction all remain important, but now, styles may cater to increased activity levels and personal preferences. Your kids may now have an opinion on what shoes they like and can make their voices heard during shoe fitting sessions. Foot care for kids in this age range must also take comfort, proper fit, and avoiding foot pain into consideration. 

A Final Note on Pediatric Foot Health

It’s important to remember that some kids struggle with foot conditions that they often grow out of. However, your shoe selections should still factor in these issues. Such conditions include toe walking in toddlers, Sever’s disease, growing pains, long-lasting flat feet, and more. But rest assured, a chiropodist can recommend shoes for your kiddo if you’re unsure of their specific needs.

Take Your Kids to Feet First Clinic!

Children can benefit from regular chiropody visits just as much as you can! Not only that, but foot clinic staff can give you tips on selecting the perfect pair of shoes for most stages of your child’s foot development! Call us at (416) 769-3338, book an appointment online, or walk in for a complimentary shoe fitting session!

Banner image courtesy of iStock, body images courtesy of FreePik and iStock!

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures.​ She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.