As a shoe salesperson, nothing is more frustrating than when a parent says, “I want a supportive shoe for my child because I want him/her to have a healthy back and knees when he/she gets older.” This request comes up with every concerned parent: hey think they are taking care of their child’s future, when in fact, they are doing just the opposite. These parents are so determined to get the most supportive and cushioned shoe for their child that there is absolutely no stopping them. They are adamant that their child wear the “best shoe” with complete disregard for the realistically negative effects on the development of their child’s feet. As a result shoe salespeople are forced to sell what the parent thinks is best for the child instead of what is best in reality.
Parents are under the false belief that children need just as much cushioning in the sole as adults. What they don’t realize is that putting the average inch of cushioning under the heel in a child’s shoe is like wearing high heels for a child. The sad part is that the major shoe companies not only making these high heel shoes for children, but actually prescribing them as the best thing for them. One inch under the heel in a child’s shoe is actually a “modest amount” in the shoe market. On a such a short shoe this heel cushioning results in a downward slope from the heel to the ball of the foot of more than 20 degrees and as much as 30 degrees in smaller sizes. This means that in order to stand upright the child has to slope their pelvis downward and arch their lower back. More weight is bearing on the front of the knees and the spine is no longer in natural alignment but is drastically curved. The more parents require their children to wear these shoes, the more this sloped pelvis position and back curvature permanently take hold. As our children develop into teenagers and then into adults they begin to feel the painful effects of this unnatural positioning in their knees, back, and neck.
A life of joint and spine pain all because parents want their children to wear the “best shoes.” A word to all the parents out there: When shoes are necessary, put the least amount of a shoe on your children’s feet.