Overwhelming Number Of Kids Wear The Wrong Size Shoes

kid trying on shoes

Kids seem to outgrow clothes and shoes faster than we can buy them, but a new survey revealed something pretty alarming -- 65 percent of kids are wearing the wrong size shoe. We know that shopping with children is no easy feat (see what we did there?), wearing shoes that are too big or too small can have serious long-lasting repercussions.

The survey, conducted by Blitzresults, showed that 65 percent of kids are wearing footwear that is too small for them. Breaking it down even further, of that percentage 47 percent are wearing shoes one size too small and 18% are wearing shoes two sizes too small. They found that just 35 percent of children wear the correct size shoe while 11 percent are sporting footwear that has the infamous "room to grow."

The concern here is that by wearing poorly fitting shoes, kids can develop something called hallux valgus, a foot deformity that occurs when the big toes begins to angle inward. This causes a lump to swell below the big toe. If this type of condition sounds like something that would be a rare occurrence, think again. According to the National Health Institute, 30 percent of kids have foot deformities that are irreversible.

How can parents make sure their child's shoes are the correct size? Tim Lilling of Blitzresults offers up some suggestions that are easier than you might think.

child wearing shoes
Credit: iStock / alex_skp

For starters, consider the fact that a person's feet are typically not the same length. In fact, it's pretty darn normal for them to be up to half an inch different. When measuring your child's feet, choose a size by the longer foot, this way you aren't squishing it into something smaller just to accommodate the shorter one.

Shoe sizes aren't created equal. Brands go by standard sizing, but there isn't an industry norm for standard shoe sizes, meaning depending on the brand there can be a difference in how long or wide a shoe size actually measures. Make sure to try on shoes before purchasing.

Offer up some room within the shoe. A lot of times when we're checking for space between the big toe and the end of the shoe, we're nervous to give too much of it. It's recommended there's at least a half an inch of room so that kids can roll their foot properly when walking.

Consistently ask kids how their shoes feel. Lilling says that because they do not have a fully developed sense of touch yet, children are more likely to push their feet into too-small shoes without even realizing it. Measure every two months to make sure the fit is still right.

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