The Importance of Fitted Shoes for Children

Shoes are a luxury that most people are guilty of taking for granted. For many people, the ease and speed of ordering from a website such as Zappos.com or taking a trip to Nordstrom at Boca Town Center Mall means little guilt and many impulse purchases. However, for many children and their families, they do not have this luxury. In fact, many children in our neighborhoods in Southern Palm Beach County do not have proper fitting shoes, and often show up for school with improperly fitted shoes.
 
Why are properly fitted and protective shoes so important? Feet are the foundation for your whole body: they take the brunt of physical activity, are responsible for getting your body from point A to point B, and are imperative for exercise. We stress the importance of having children exercise or play outside for at least 60 minutes a day, but without properly fitted shoes, children are at risk for twisting their ankles or stepping on something and injuring themselves. Moreover, many children often walk instead of taking the bus and not having proper shoes can expose their feet to dangerous elements. Children’s feet take more stress than adult’s feet due to high activity levels and participating in more high impact activities than adults. Children should wear shoes with good shock absorption, a well-made foot bed, flexibility, and durable soles.
 
Furthermore, until the age of 18, most of the bones in children’s feet are cartilage and do not harden or fully develop until then. A good pair of shoes helps the bones develop naturally. Shoes that are too large and especially shoes that are too small can hinder development. Shoes that are too small decrease circulation, cause blisters, ingrown toenails, and are painful. Shoes that are too big can cause blisters or chafing and prevent children from being able to grip the ground properly, putting them at greater risk for injury. Because children’s feet grow faster the younger they are, it is important to ensure their shoes always properly fit. In their first 3 years, children’s feet can grow over 12 sizes! This may mean having to purchase new shoes every 3-6 months, which can be a financial burden for a family who already cannot afford to buy new shoes.
 
There are dozens of health reasons, not fashion reasons, why a good pair of fitted, comfortable shoes is essential to a child’s health. How can you help local children and their families who do not have the financial resources to purchase properly fitted shoes? Donate your new or gently-worn shoes to In Jacob’s Shoes, a South Florida charity that aims to provide new and gently used shoes, school supplies and athletic equipment to children in need. Donations of new and gently used shoes are needed in all types and sizes.  Financial contributions are also appreciated and are used to fund grants and purchase new items for children in need.  In Jacob’s Shoes is also a sponsor of Spirit of Giving’s Back to School Bash in August 2015, and plans to give 2,000 children shoes for their upcoming school year. To help donate to their cause, see their wish list or learn more about the organization, please visit their website at www.injacobsshoes.org.