Your child's feet are very different to adult feet. They're not fully-formed, they're soft and mouldable.
Getting properly-fitted shoes helps ensure that their feet develop normally and helps to prevent future foot problems.
1. Firm heel counter
The "heel counter" is the section of the shoe that cups the back of your heel bone.
Press down at the back of the heel counter to check that it's firm. It should stay in place and not fold down easily.
Your child needs a firm heel counter to keep their ankles supported and stable.
2. Bends at the toes
It's important that your child's shoes bend easily at the big toe joint.
To keep the arch of their feet stable and supported, their shoes should NOT bend in the middle.
Shoes need to allow the natural movement of your child's feet.
3. Can they wriggle their toes?
Make sure that your child's toes have wriggle room when you're choosing shoes.
For room to grow, we recommend that your child's shoes are 10-15mm longer than your child's longest toe.
The easiest way to check this is to pull out the inner sole from the pair of shoes. When your child stands on this inner sole, you'll be able to see how well their shoes fit.
This inner sole will also help you see whether the shoes are wide enough.
Later on, when their shoes are 5mm from the end of their toes, it's time to buy the next size shoe.
4. Are their shoes deep enough?
Check to see if the shoes are deep enough to comfortably fit your child's feet.
Especially if they have high arched feet, the shoes may fit comfortably, but be tight across the top of the shoe.
5. Check inside the shoe
Check the insoles of the shoes to see if they provide extra padding. This extra cushioning will help make the shoes more comfortable.
And it's worth removing the insole to further investigate the sole of the shoe from the inside.
If the shoe has a solid sole, that's great. If has a honeycomb or lattice pattern, then the shoes will not last very long.
6. Do the shoes rub at the ankles?
Check that the back of the heel curves nicely around your child's ankle bones.
If it's too high it can irritate the skin and cause blisters.
If it's too low then it wil not provide enough ankle support.