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Shoe (and sock!) Shopping 101

Posted May 31 2012 12:00am

It may not be time to make the annual new shoe purchase for you child, but it is important to know what to look for when that time comes.  90% of people are wearing improperly fitting shoes and most foot problems are caused or aggravated by improperly fitting shoes.

Good shoes are especially important to avoid problems in developing feet. Because shoes serve only to protect children's feet from injury, none are needed before a child walks. High-topped infant shoes do not support ankles - oxfords and tennis shoes are equally good.

Check OFTEN to be sure shoes aren't too small. Children's feet are so flexible they can be crammed into shoes two sizes too small - and the child may not complain.

Don't have children wear hand-me-down shoes. They are permanently molded to the original owner's feet.
And remember, kids with a family history of foot problems like bunions and flat feet can benefit from custom foot orthotics as young as 18 months old to slow down the progression of some inherited foot deformities.

Shoes are definitely important, but don't forget about socks!  Making sure your child's socks are the right size and shape is just as important as getting the right shoe.

Here are some sock buying tips from the trenches:
- A sock with a poly/cotton blend is the best for everyday wear. Sweat wicking blends like Coolmaxx or Dry-weave are best for running. If you have a chronic fungal infection or itchy feet, you may like socks impregnated with silver or copper to decrease the fungus and bacteria collecting in between your toes.
- It really is all about fit. Socks should fit like a glove. No loose fabric or bunching up around the toes and especially no contracting or curling your toes because they are too small! Thin or thick, just make sure they fit and don't make you shoes too tight.
- Diabetics and those with circulation problems or blister problems at the tips of your toes should wear specialty seamless socks. These are available in many types and sizes. For example, the SmoothToe diabetic sock is available through our online product store  along with many others.

SmoothToe Socks Feature: • No Irritating Toe Seam. •Keeps Feet Cool and Dry. •Secure Fit. •Unique Hourglass Construction. •Heel to Toe Comfort Sole.
- All socks should be tried on with the appropriate shoes. Don't try on your running socks with dress shoes...that's a recipe for buying the wrong socks!
- When in doubt, visit Step Alive Shoes , our therapeutic shoe store. We have lots of socks and can help you with your choices for everyday and running.

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