In addition to how the ideal shoe should be for such a crucial period, it is also important to know when the child should wear it. Before a child starts to take his/her first steps, it is advisable to leave the feet free, as much as possible, to move and grow in freedom. Timing is important – if feet are closed in inadequate shoes (for example, if they are too rigid) there is the risk of blocking sensitivity or hindering the movement of the ankle or toes. In addition, children are constantly moving their legs and the toe box or heel of the shoe could hurt them.
Therefore, in learning to stand and with the first steps it is necessary to provide the correct support with suitable shoes. What sort of shoes?
Materials: natural, non-toxic, soft; cloth is a possibility but leather is always the best choice because it is flexible and breathable thanks to its porosity;
The sole: as wide as possible, soft and flexible, with non-slip tread to guarantee a good grip on the ground.
The toe box: wide and comfortable, allowing the toes to move naturally (1/1 cm longer than the foot).
The heel counter: should be solid to support the child in maintaining the standing position but it should also facilitate the natural movement of the ankle.
The heel: wide and square, with a height of about one tenth of the total length of the sole.
The length of the shoe should be checked regularly because young feet grow rapidly (approximately 4 mm per month) but in spurts. In addition to choosing shoes that are 1 cm/1 cm longer than the feet, as mentioned above, both feet should be measured, as they may be different lengths.
Do not let siblings wear the same shoes or pass down shoes from one sibling to another and do not “abuse” corrective footwear, the use of which should be evaluated and prescribed only by a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon.