A good fit

When it comes to sports shoes for children, it’s essential to choose properly
By Tamlyn Vincent

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From getting children into the shoe shop, to steering them away from stylish, overly-expensive options, buying sports shoes might not always be easy. But choosing the right ones is important. Your child’s feet are growing and developing, and because of this, he needs a shoe that fits properly.
 
Here are some tips for choosing the right sports shoes for your child:
 
They need to fit properly
Shoes, especially those in which children will be active, need to fit well. They should be snug around the ankle and heel, providing the support children need. There should be a thumbspace (about one centimetre) between the longest toe and the front of the shoe, providing a bit of wriggle room for the toes.
 
Ask a sales consultant to help you find the right fit, both for width and length. Remember, not all shoe sizes are equal and a size 2 in your child’s flip flops may be different to a size 2 in their sports shoes. Don’t forget to take the right socks with you when trying on shoes.
 
Choose function over aesthetics
Sports shoes need to be for sports, not playtime. There’s nothing wrong with sparkly shoes or superhero prints, but the shoes in which your child plays sports need to be suitable for outdoor activities like running or playing hockey.
 
Hi-Tec SA says that good sports shoes for kids should include a breathable upper, a removable EVA sock-liner moulded to the shape of the foot and a non-marking rubber outsole for durability. This last feature is especially important when it comes to court sports like netball and tennis.
 
Find a shoe that suits the activity
Most children won’t need technically advanced or sport-specific shoes. But they will need ones that are suitable for the activities in which they are participating. Athletic shoes should be adequate for most school sports, as long as they fit comfortably.
 
Affordability is a factor
Children’s sport shoes can be just as expensive as adults. In most cases, specialised shoes aren’t necessary, but even your average sports shoes can be pricey. Look for ones that fit your budget but that still provide a good fit for your child. Spending a bit of money on a good pair of shoes can help prevent potential foot problems at a later stage.
 
Sports shoes should tick all the boxes
  • Your child’s sports shoes should provide support for the heel, arch and ankle
  • They should offer flexibility, especially in the front part of the shoe
  • Sports shoes should offer some shock absorption
  • Shoes should provide stability, especially for the ankle
  • They need to fasten securely, with either Velcro straps or laces – slip-on shoes aren’t always as secure

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