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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 6, No. 1 - January/February 2014

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Healthy Summer Feet

By Adam Glascock

The summer break is a wonderful time for our children to be running around barefoot and enjoying being kids.

The start of the school year changes this, and the need to return to footwear can create a headache for parents who have seen happy unshod children not wanting to return to stable appropriate footwear.

So what is the best for your child? Do they need a shoe with stability or one that offers protection and cushioning? If they wear appropriate prescription functional foot orthotics does the shoe need to compliment and assist the orthotics function to help your child?

Commonly we tend to worry about whether our child should be in a true school shoe or jogger style and these are often driven by factors that include cost and availability.


  • Structure

    The sole should be durable and stable and preferably made from a dense EVA and rubber outsole that is not too soft to reduce wear and ensure endurance. A firm heel counter is important and lace up is best to ensure the cuff of the shoe fastens around your child's ankle securely. There is a preference from schools for Velcro in the early years but this is inappropriate after kindergarten for most children.

  • Material

    The upper, if leather is better as cowhide rather than kangaroo leather as it is softer and more likely to wear.

    Either will need polishing weekly and Kiwi boot polish whilst inconvenient provides greater life and will teach your children to look after their shoes

    There may be a practicality for some families in having just one pair of school shoes, which is only a jogger and can cover sport and general wear.

    If so, a vinyl or leather upper will last better than mesh.

  • Brands

    It isn't always true that you get what you pay for. A number of major brands have begun to place some lower priced product but with similar styles.

    It is important to understand that these in most cases won't offer long term support and protection and generally wear more rapidly, resulting in replacement mid or late year.

    The shoe will begin to flex earlier through the middle of the shoe and some of the soling tends to peel away more rapidly. In essence you have to buy a second pair of cheaper shoes when you possibly may only need one quality pair.

    My preference is towards the Clarks Daytona shoe. It is stable and structured and offers all children appropriate materials to ensure they are comfortable day to day.

    For stability and durability in a jogger, the Ascent Cluster or Defender tends to suit most.

  • Fit

    Having someone appropriately fit your child's school shoe is vitally important. This skill has been lost by most current retailers of footwear, regardless of whether they have a system that scans your child's foot or you walk over.

    In the end, ensure your child is fitted properly, decide what style suit their needs and put cost aside, remembering that these shoes with a stable comfortable platform carry them forward through play and learning.

About Adam Glascock

Adam is President Australian Podiatry Association (NSW). At Newcastle Family and Sports Podiatry, Adam ensures that children are comfortable in their play and sport by optimising lower limb function. Adam focuses on practice hip, core and lower limb rehabilitation as a physical therapy to help children to increase their enjoyment of physical activity, enhanced by the use of prescription functional foot orthotics. An appropriate podiatric approach and a broad range of experience with biomechanics are important to make this happen.

More Information

Adam Glascock
Newcastle Family & Sports Podiatry
51 Denison St.
Hamilton East NSW 2303
P: 02 4961 4411


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