The Importance of Proper Shoes for Children in Athletics
We thought this article made some great points about the importance of proper footwear for young athletes. This article is originally posted on the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine website. Here’s an excerpt:
Podiatric physicians agree it’s often better to buy a child two $50 pairs of shoes than a single $100 pair, so the shoes can be rotated, to avoid rapid wear deterioration. Excessive wearing of the outsole, loss of shoe counter support, or wearing out in the midsole indicate it’s time to replace the shoes.
Because a child’s feet are constantly growing, it is important to allow at least one finger’s width from the end of the longest toe when buying shoes. Remember, proper fit is very important. You can have the best shoe in the world, but if it doesn’t fit right, it doesn’t do its job.
“You can have the best shoe in the world, but if it doesn’t fit right, it doesn’t do its job.”
In the shoe store, children should put on both shoes, with their athletic socks and the laces tied tight, for several minutes to properly check the shoes’ fit. Shop for shoes in the afternoon, when the feet are naturally slightly swollen.
In young children, an “all purpose” sports shoe works well for most sports. A running-specific shoe is not suitable as an all purpose shoe; moving laterally in a running shoe is more difficult and presents greater risk of injury for children. After the age of 10, sport-specific shoes can help improve performance and protect the feet. With the exception of the running shoe, a degree of crossover between sporting shoes is usually not harmful to the feet of a child athlete.
Rubber cleats are not usually necessary for children under 10, though they pose little potential harm for them. They are most useful on a soft-field sport such as soccer. Podiatric physicians recommend molded shoe rubber cleats rather than the screw-on variety. Metal baseball spikes can be dangerous and should not be used until the teenage years.
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