Back to School: What You Need to Know About Choosing New Shoes


The start of a new school year means the summer holidays are ending and your children are getting ready for a new pair of shoes as they head back to school. So today, our New Haven County and Fairfield County podiatrists Dr. Joel Segalman, Dr. Stephen Lazaroff, and Dr. Brittany Ciaramello at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC are sharing some important elements to keep in mind when choosing your child’s back-to-school shoes. 

Fit: While your children’s feet are growing, it’s important not to choose a shoe that is too long. If there’s too much empty space, the foot will not be held in place properly, resulting in too much instability. On the other hand, if the shoe is too short, the foot will be crammed in and your child could get ingrown toenails or other problems with their feet.  

When measuring the foot within the shoe, always measure while the child is standing. Aim for a space about the width of your child’s thumb from the end of their longest toe to the tip of the shoe. 

This also applies to width - not all children’s feet have the same width. Remove the innersole from the shoe, have them stand on it and look to see if the area around the ball of the foot is hanging over. If it is, the shoe is not wide enough. 

Support: When looking at the construction of the shoe, look for these three things: 

  • The back part of the shoe that holds the heel needs to be firm;

  • The arch needs to be stiff from twisting and bending;

  • The shoe should only bend at the ball of the foot and should have either laces or Velcro to be able to loosen or tighten the shoe as needed.  

The rest – brand, color, style, etc. - is up to you and your child!

We understand that higher-quality shoes can cost more, but often the cheaper ones have to be replaced mid-year because they are wearing out too fast. In general, the better brands are made better to stand up to the daily wear and tear that children place on them. However, if you are on a tight budget, follow this general advice and your child will be in perfectly suitable shoes. 

If your child is complaining of ankle/foot pain, tender toenails, or you notice abnormal or excessive wear patterns on their shoes from the previous year, contact the offices of Dr. Joel Segalman, Dr. Stephen Lazaroff, and Dr. Brittany Ciaramello at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC

We serve both New Haven County and Fairfield County areas. Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling our Waterbury office at (203) 755-0489 or our Newtown location at (203) 270-6724.