The WHO titled a report - Children are not little adults. They differ in many aspects, like physical development, social development, cognitive development, immunity, etc. This ongoing development in children makes them physically different and evolving compared to adults, which is also the reason for a child’s feet appearing different from an adult.
Studies show that children's feet in the initial years – upto 2 years, are underdeveloped; they are soft and much more delicate than adults. In their 3rd year, the ligament building process begins along with bone and muscle development, enabling arch formation in some cases and no arch formation in some. Their foot development process continues till they reach 16 or 18 years.
To cut a long story short, our own feet might be flat or arched because our musculoskeletal development is over, but when it comes to children, they are still growing, and so are their feet, and this will continue till they are about 16-18 years old. The best kids shoes are hence those that are flexible and allow for this growth and development.
In fact, we should not be worried about flat feet in children at all.
Instead here are a few signs to look out for in your children’s feet, as per age group:
(Having an arch formed or not still doesn’t cause any problem. Only when the child complains about foot/ankle pain or gets tired after play or avoids indulging in outdoor activities- that's the time you need to visit a doctor/podiatrist)
So, do kids need arch support?
- Mostly not. There is nothing to be corrected. Their foot is still under development; all you need to do is wait for nature to take its course.
Should we even be worried about flat feet in children? When looking to buy kids shoes online or offline should we look for shoes with arch support?
- It is futile stressing about a child’s flat feet unless they mention pain. The bigger question is, what can we do to avoid a future problem like foot/ankle pain that might need us to get to a doctor/podiatrist?
As a parent, all we have to do is be a little more cautious about their foot’s natural development rather than looking out for arch support options.
A simple tip to follow is to ensure the right balance between indoor bare-foot time and outdoor time in the RIGHT SHOES! Remember, the best kids shoes are those that do not come in the way of natural movement and development. Whether you choose to buy kids shoes online or offline, always pick a pair that allows:
- Their feet to move and flex fully
- Their toes to spread wide
- Their soles to feel the ground
The right and best kids shoes allow their feet to fully flex, fit, and feel the ground; and will thus support proper balance, posture, muscle and arch formation naturally, as they grow.
In summary, when looking for the Best Kids Shoes Online or offline, stop worrying about arch support and flat feet. Just pick a pair with this simple philosophy of FLEX | FIT | FEEL and leave the rest to Mother Nature!