*When will my child start walking?Most children start walking between 9 and 18 months of age. Every child’s development varies from each other so they can start walking earlier or later than other child. The most important thing to remember is to not to try to make your child walk until your child is ready.
*Does my child need shoes when he/she is crawling or in the early stages of learning to walk?
Barefoot is best but, you might need to protect your child’s feet from cold, bumps and scrapes from hard floors. You can use “Pre-walkers” which are not considered to be “First shoes”. They are lightweight and flexible and have rubber toes and heel bumpers. Pre-walkers will keep feet warm and will protect their toes from banging against furniture. They will also give them grip on slippery surfaces like wooden floors or tiles. Pre-walkers are soft and gentle to their feet and they allow plenty of room for feet to grow. Your child will feel like he is walking barefoot but warm and protected. At this stage, you might prefer to get your child’s shoes fitted by a professionally trained fitter.
*When should I buy my child’s first pair of shoes?
Once your child is able to walk independently for 6/8 weeks, he is balanced and stable and can walk the length of a room.
*Why are properly fitted shoes so important?
Properly fitted shoes are the keystone of the healthy development of you child’s feet.
Not properly fitted shoes can cause skin problems as sores or blisters, and can also cause anatomical problems like pronation or in-toeing between others.
Studies reveal that 70% of adults suffer from foot conditions and that these conditions develop from wearing ill-fitting shoes in childhood. How is that possible? This is because children’s bones are made of soft spongy cartilage until they harden up (ossify) in their late teens. This cartilage can be pushed out of alignment by shoes (also tight sleep-suits and socks) that are not fit properly. Also the nerve endings in babies’ feet are not fully developed so your child will not able to tell you if his feet are sore or tight in his shoes.
Finally, poorly fitted shoes don’t wear well as they tend to crack or break due to over creasing on the parts of the shoe where there is excess of growing room.
*How often do I have to measure my child feet?
Children’s feet grow in spurts. But it is not know when the spurts will happen or how much they are going to grow. So their feet should be checked every six to eight weeks in toddlers and three to four months after that. The shoe fitter will measure and check your child’s feet and his current shoes and will advise you if they need to be replace. A genuine shoe fitter will not try to sell you a pair of shoes if your child doesn’t need it.
*Why did my child’s feet measure different sizes in different shops?
The measuring system is not standardised. Every gauge is calibrated accordingly to the specifications of every shoe manufacturer. So, different manufacturers have different gauges. Shoe shapes, materials, country of origin make that two same size shoes, fit differently. The gauge is only a starting point or guide for a qualified shoe fitter, who will judge if a shoe is the correct size for your child once it is on his feet and has been carefully checked for fit and comfort.
*Is it OK to hand down shoes to another child?
It is not recommended to pass on shoes, as no two pairs of feet are the same. The shoes would have been fitted for a specific width and length for the first child, and it’s highly unlikely, that the shoes will fit properly to the second child.
The secondhand shoes are now molded to the first child feet and way of walking. If there was any type of foot anatomy issue with the first child, the shoe would have deformed into that condition and by passing it to another child you might provoke the molding of the foot into that deformed shoe.
Also bacterial infections can develop inside the shoes so you can transmit these to the child taking the secondhand shoes.
*Is it normal to have two different foot sizes?
Yes, most children have different size feet, and their footwear should always be fitted to accommodate the larger foot size. A qualified shoe fitter will be able to recommend the best shoes for your child.
*My child has very sweaty feet and they smell. What can I do?
Most of the times, this problem arises when wearing poor quality synthetic shoes. Children’s feet can sweat up to an egg-cup full of moisture each day. So you need a shoe that allows perspiration to escape through the surface of the shoe, keeping the foot dry and ventilated. Only natural materials like leather allow for this to happen. A 100% leather shoe (leather lining and uppers) will give you this type of performance.
Using synthetic shoes it’s like wearing a plastic bag on your feet. There is no breathability. The synthetic lining tends to become hot and damp and, encourages bacteria to grow, leading to smelly feet and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.