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“Shoe fitting is not just common-sense it requires knowledge and experience. Only a third of children have average feet, therefore a qualified shoe fitter is the best person to look after your child’s feet as it is their job to continually look, feel and assess many different pairs of feet in a day’.


So what do we as a nation need? • We need regulation about how and where children’s shoes are sold.


• The public need to know more about the importance of footwear and fitting


• Shops need to invest in the education of their staff and have at least one qualified member of staff instore.


• Children’s footwear purchased on the web or indeed without a ‘fitting service’ i.e. mail order, supermarkets, markets, should by law carry a government health warning.


• Feet and footwear tuition should be part of the education syllabus provided to and by Primary Health Care workers.


“Shoe fitting is not just common-sense it requires knowledge and


experience”, says Laura. “ Only a third of children have average feet, therefore a qualified shoe fitter is the best person to look after your child’s feet as it is their job to continually look, feel and assess many different pairs of feet in a day’. What you consider to be ‘cheap’ now, may cost your children dearly in the future, and there is no extra charge for an expert service.”


Contact:


Laura West, Secretary, The Society of Shoe Fitters Tel: +44 (0)1953 Web: www.shoefitters-uk.org


Checklist for choosing the right children’s shoes:


• Avoid slip on shoes. Choose shoes with laces, straps or Velcro fastenings, which act like a seatbelt in a car, holding the shoe onto the foot. Be wary of the current fashion for girl’s ballet style pumps which lack support to the inner border of the foot and provide no shock absorption.


• Ask if the assistant is a trained shoe fitter and, if not, if one is on the premises. Always have both feet measured for length and width. Shoes that are the wrong size can damage a growing foot.


• A newly fitted shoe should be approximately a finger’s width longer than the longest toe to allow for growth and elongation of the foot when walking.


• Trainers are foot friendly as long as feet are measured, however, many trainers are designed for particular sports and may not be suitable for everyday wear. Avoid the use of plimsolls in school all day, every day.


• Have your child’s feet measured in every shoe shop you visit – there are slight differences in sizing by different footwear manufacturers.


• Heel height should be no more than 4cm. Lower for younger children. The heel should have a broad base and be made from a shock-absorbing material.


• Natural material uppers such as leather are best. Check inside the shoe for seams or stitching that may cause irritation.


• The toe area of the shoe should be deep enough to allow the toes to move freely and not be squashed from the top or sides.


• The shoes should fit exactly around the heel without being tight or loose.


• The inner border of the shoe at the heel and arch area should be firm and support the foot.


Source: The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists


JANUARY 2011 • FOOTWEAR TODAY


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