Shoes come in all shapes and sizes and so we will try to outline the best shoe types and brands for you. Before we give you our suggestions, it’s important to know the make-up of a shoe. Outlined below are the individual parts of a shoe and why they are important to your child.
The Upper Part: should be made of leather, canvas, or the newer mesh materials. Children’s feet perspire a lot and the upper part of their shoes should be made of breathable materials. Leather or canvas allows the foot to breathe.
The Insole: should be made of absorbent material. Padded insoles are fine but most toddlers do not need a special arch support. All toddlers younger than 16 months have flat feet and fully develop an arch by the age of 6–8 years. As children age the need for arch support increases. By the time children graduate from their toddler years, they should look for a shoe with an insole that provides arch support.
The Outer Sole: provides traction, cushioning, and flexibility to the shoe. Flat outer soles make it easier to begin walking by providing stability and balance and can be useful for toddler aged children. Older children need to transition into a stiff soled shoe with visible arch support.
The Heel/Backing: allows the heel bone to be well seated within the shoe. This is important to provide stability to the foot and to prevent the heel from coming out of the shoe.