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Research - practical tips on fitting kid's shoes

03-05-2008 08:36 AM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: Research team children's feet - children's shoes

Making a cardboard template

Making a cardboard template

Spring is in the air – high time to get kids’ feet out of their heavy winter boots and into lighter little shoes. To make sure the new ones fit right and don’t pinch kids’ growing feet, here are a few important tips for your spring shoe shopping:
3 tips for spring: To make sure kids’ shoes have the right fit!
Correctly fitting children’s shoes are at least 12 mm (the average width of the tip of an adult’s pinkie finger) and not more than 17 mm (the average width of the tip of an adult’s thumb) longer than the child’s foot.

1. At the shoe store: Most shoe stores only measure the length of children’s feet to determine shoe size, but since shoe sizes are hardly ever really accurate, that isn’t enough. Insist that both the feet and the inside length of the shoe are measured before you buy!
Do it yourself:
2. Cardboard template: Trace the outline of the child’s foot on a piece of sturdy cardboard. Add 12-17 mm to the longest toe, then cut out your template, a strip of cardboard about two fingers wide, being sure to round the heel. If the template fits in the shoe without bending or buckling, then the shoe is long enough.
3. Insole: If the shoe’s insole is removable, then take it out and have the child stand on it. Mark the end of the child’s longest toe on the insole with a pen and measure the distance between the mark and the end of the insole. It must be at least 12 mm. But beware: Our research has shown that insoles are frequently not the same length as the shoe. So before you remove the insole, check to see if it can be slid forward and back (insole too short) or if it curls up at the toe of the shoe (insole too long).
Background information
Two Austrian research projects* commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry and the Fund for a Healthy Austria (Fonds Gesundes Österreich) came up with some alarming results:
1. Children’s shoes are too short: Over half of all the children tested (1,724 children between the ages of 3 and 10) regularly wear street shoes and indoor shoes that are too short.
2. Scientific proof: Wearing shoes that are too short damages kids’ feet! Statistical analysis showed that wearing indoor shoes (slippers, house shoes) of insufficient length was particularly harmful to children’s feet. This is probably because at this age, children spend more time wearing these shoes in school and kindergarten than they do wearing their street shoes.
3. Parents aren’t informed and aren’t told what they need to know. The majority of parents surveyed (1,005 parents) had no idea that properly-fitting shoes have to be 12-17 mm longer than the child’s foot. Most parents know a few methods to test the fit of kids’ shoes – unfortunately, these methods are rarely applied correctly and are almost never accurate.
4. Kids’ shoes: What you see is not always what you get. Don’t trust labeled shoe sizes: Over 90% of the shoes tested were shorter than they should have been. For example, a shoe labeled size 30 may be only equivalent to a size 28 in length. On average, shoes were 12.6 mm shorter than labeled – that is almost 2 whole shoe sizes.
Research team
Univ. Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Groll-Knapp, Dr. Wieland Kinz, Dr. Christian Klein
* Research projects
• 2001-2003: “Children’s Feet – Children’s Shoes. Basic research as a prerequisite for health recommendations and health education”, commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Social Security and Generations.
• 2005-2007: “Kids: healthy feet – healthy life” commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Women and Health, and the Fund for a Healthy Austria.

Research team children's feet - children's shoes
Dr. Wieland Kinz
Morzgerstr. 61
5020 Salzburg
mobile 0043 664 264 34 50

We are an independent Austrian research team (children's feet - children's shoes).

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