Flip flops, heels and healthy feet: choosing shoes for teenagers

Teenagers can be very fussy about their shoes, and as parents, we inevitably worry that the latest fashions or fads they want to wear may not be good for our kids’ feet.

So, what better time than Foot Health Awareness Month to talk to your kids about buying shoes, so they can make informed decisions, and don’t bring home shoes that give you nightmares!

Sports shoes for teenagers

If your teenager is into sports, buying the right footwear for specific sports is essential. Running shoes are built quite differently from basketball shoes, for example, because of the different physical actions involved.

Take time to visit a store that specializes in sports footwear, and make sure you find an assistant who really knows their stock. Be prepared to try on a LOT of pairs, as the shoe must be right for their particular foot shape, the way they walk, and their chosen sport.

Other points to bear in mind:

  • Your kids may have one foot longer than the other (most folk do), so make sure the shoe fits the larger foot.
  • Make sure your kid is wearing the correct socks that they will wear when playing their sport, so the fit is right.
  • Ignore the sizing on the box – these vary enormously from brand name to brand name, and across styles and shoe types.
  • Above all, sports shoes should fit right straight out of the box – you should never have to ‘break in’ a pair of athletic shoes.

Fashion shoes for teenagers

The basic rule of any shoe is that it should support both the front and the back of your foot. They should be stiff in the middle of the shoe, but bend at the ball of the foot. They should fit well, which means they shouldn’t constrict your toes, or make your feet hurt after wearing them for five minutes. Many so-called fashion shoes will tick all of these boxes, no problem, but some won’t.

The secret to teenagers wearing the shoes they like, but which don’t damage their feet, is moderation. Teenagers can wear flip-flops if they like, but not all day every day. The same applies to heels – fine for a night out or special occasions, but not suitable for everyday. If you can, gently steer them towards trendy platform heels or wedges over thin stiletto heels.

No shoes seem to fit

In an ideal world, every shoe would be custom-made to fit every individual’s foot. It would support their feet in the right way and spread the weight evenly across the foot. (Such shoes would solve a lot of problems, and reduce our caseload considerably!) In the real world, however, you may find that no shoes truly fit your teenager’s feet, and that’s the time to come and see us.

We’ll make a thorough examination of your kid’s feet, and assess their gait (how they walk). Many problems with ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes can be corrected using custom-made orthotics that slip into the shoes and gently adjust the foot position.

Before your kids throw their hands up in horror at the mere thought of orthotics, remind them that top sportspeople use these all the time to improve their performance, and prevent injury. So, orthotics could actually give them an advantage on the field, the track or even on the dance floor!

Expert, friendly advice for teenage foot health from Hunt Footcare

If you have any concerns over the your teenager’s feet, from sore heels to fungal nail infections, make an appointment at any of our local foot clinics in Stratford, Ingersoll and London. 

  • London Foot Specialists (519) 432 3636
  • Ingersoll Foot & Ankle Clinic (519) 485-1750
  • Stratford Foot & Ankle Clinic (519) 271-8834 
Published On: May 26, 2015