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A South Milwaukee Podiatrist’s Guide To Children’s Shoes

Most children learn to walk at about the time of their first birthday, although some learn months earlier or later. As your child begins to walk, you may have your first questions about what shoes he or she should wear. A growing child will need new shoes frequently and more questions will arise.

To help you answer these questions and find the proper shoe for your child, here are some suggestions:

The Fit
Pay attention to the shoe’s proper length, width and depth when fitting your child’s shoe. Poorly fitting children’s shoes can cause toe problems, ingrown toe nails, hammertoes, calluses and bunions. Children’s feet grow in spurts and they require new shoes every three to four months. Most early toddlers (under 16 months of age) grow more than one-half a foot size in two months. Toddlers from age 16 to 24 months grow an average of one-half a foot size every three months. The young child, 24 to 36 months old, grows approximately one-half a foot size every four months and children over 3 years of age experience increases of one-half a foot size every four to six months. Seventy percent of children wear shoes with D and E widths. Most boys wear E width and most girls wear D width. A tie-fastened shoe can accommodate most widths. You should examine the depth of the shoe to make sure the top of the shoe doesn’t press on the toes or the toenails. Look for shoes with rounded toe boxes to give the toes more room for movement. Remember, shoes should be comfortable from the start. If new shoes need to be “broken in”, it means either they were not properly designed or not properly fitted for your child’s foot.

The Appropriate Shoe – Pre-walking Shoe.
Certain types of shoes are appropriate for your child’s age. Babies and crawlers do not need shoes. They only need booties, warm wide socks to keep their feet warm or pre-walking shoes that do not bind their feet. The shoe should be flexible rather than providing a rigid support and it is very important that the shoe be shaped like the child’s foot. Your child can go barefoot in a protected environment such as indoors.

Toddler Shoes.
Shoes for toddlers, age 9 months to 3 years, should allow the foot to breathe since their feet perspire a great amount. Avoid synthetic materials that do not breathe. For children 9 to 18 months, choose a high top shoe which will stay on the foot better than an oxford or a low top tennis shoe. A leather or canvas tie shoe is more secure, will stay on the foot, and will fit fat little feet better. The sole of the shoe should be smooth like the palm of your hand. A smooth sole means less friction so the shoe won’t grab the floor, possible causing your child to fall. Choose a light-weight shoe, since children use a lot of energy walking at this age. Toddlers can go barefoot in a protected environment such as indoors.

School-Age Children’s Shoes.
Style and shoe fit are important for school-age children. At this age, they can choose from a variety of options including athletic shoes, sandals, hiking shoes, etc. Look for reasonable priced, flexible, well-ventilated shoes that allow plenty of room for growth. If you have a great deal of difficulty finding shoes that fit, or if your child develops calluses, sores, or other foot problems, consult your family podiatrist.


From heel pain to toenail fungus, our Milwaukee, WI, New Berlin, WI, Wauwatosa, WI, Mequon, WI and Oak Creek, WI Podiatrists offer exceptional care with extraordinary results.

At Milwaukee Foot and Ankle Specialists, we have the most cutting edge and innovative technology available. By having digital scanning technology for orthotics, digital X-rays, digital diagnostic ultrasound, PRP, shockwave therapy, laser for removal of toenail fungus & more all in office and available in a moments notice allows you to save time and money.

We look forward to helping you!

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This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.

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Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists of Wauwatosa, Oak Creek, New Berlin and Mequon, Wisconsin (WI) treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrists, Dr. Steven Waldman, Dr. Christopher Milkie, Dr. Brant McCartan and Dr. Lucy Meier can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.
Our podiatrists, foot surgeons and staff of our Milwaukee area podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community. Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!
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