What footwear should my child wear?
For an adult or a child, the general principle is that our footwear should conform to the shape of our feet and should allow normal joint motion to occur. Therefore, our feet should NOT have to conform to the shape of the shoe as happens if we wear very pointed-toes shoes or shoes that are too short or narrow. The motion should NOT be disrupted for example, by wearing a very stiff soled shoe or a high heel.
Our footwear always needs to be slightly bigger than our feet if we are not to deform the toes, and yet a good fit around the heel and ankle is important for support and to aid stability, if this is required. Shoes often have extra strength built into the heel counter and the stronger the heel counter, the more supportive the shoe will be. To remain positioned in the supportive heel counter and not slip forwards when we take a step, the shoe needs to be fastened to our foot. Therefore a lace, buckle or Velcro fastening is essential and should be sufficiently tight that the shoe cannot easily be pulled off the foot.
If a foot requires extra support, for example if the foot is aching, painful, tired or is known to be in a poor functional position, such as showing increased pronation (rolling-in), then you need to check the strength of the heel counter when choosing the footwear. The heel counter should be strong when squeezed in your hand and should not easily collapse – remember it has to support all of your body weight over many steps.