How to choose the right shoes for the back to school

After the beautiful summer we’ve just had, it’s now time to get back the grind! Whether it’s for daycare, school, or work, we recommend that you shop around for the right shoes for yourself and for your kids.

It’s that little extra that makes the difference in minimizing common injuries. So that you can maintain good foot health for the whole family.


It’s not always easy to find a pair of shoes that conforms exactly to your feet when faced with such a vast array of choices; even more so in kids’ stores, which display a thousand and one trendy kids’ models. We often even sacrifice comfort and balance for style.

But having shoes that are perfectly adapted to your feet is crucial for good balance and posture, particularly for kids, who are in the thick of their physical growth and development phase. It is therefore essential to select shoes that are tailored to the morphology of the foot and the intended use (ex.: walking, running, etc.). A good pair of shoes for kids is very important since they jump and run around all day with their friends at daycare or at school, that’s why it is of the utmost important that they have the right shoes.

A good shoe holds the foot in place in addition to ensuring comfort and support through the whole day; and good foot support is also important for adults working from home.

Shoes that are chosen uniquely for their style could cause irritation and blisters, which can, in turn, cause changes in posture to compensate for the discomfort. This imbalance could eventually lead to other serious problems, like backaches, persistent stiffness, muscular fatigue, and even headaches.


The first mistake, when shopping for shoes, is to rely solely on the indicated size; that is, the traditional numerical shoe size. Luckily, in more and more shoe stores, you can now choose the size and the width.

People who have narrow feet often have difficulty finding good shoes because they experience the sensation that their feet are “floating around” in their shoes. They try to compensate for this by getting a smaller size, which crushes their toes and, in the long term, causes great discomfort and poor posture.

Contrarily, if you have a wide foot, you should know that there are brands of shoes specifically for large feet, like Mizuno, Brooks, and New Balance. Consult a qualified advisor, or one of our podiatrists, to find out what type of shoe best correspond to the width of your foot in order to help you make an informed purchase.


Whether it’s for walking to school, working in a standing position, or moving around in phys. ed. class or at the gym, invest in a shoe that has a flexible sole (that bends) in its anterior part (the toes) and that is non-slip. The flexibility of the sole provides freedom of movement in each step; while the non-slip feature grips the surface of the ground, limiting the risk of slipping and falling. Watch our demonstration video here!

As you may have figured, high-heel shoes are to be avoided as much as possible when it comes to comfort and posture. Did you know that this type of shoe shifts 80% of your bodyweight to the front of your feet? In addition to hindering the natural gait, high heels can cause sprains or sagging of the plantar bones. Something worth considering!


Even if it takes longer than shopping online, it is to your advantage to take the time to try on shoes and take a few steps in them to make sure they fit properly. Don’t hesitate to compare different models, sizes and widths to see which is the best for you.

We also recommend that you examine your feet closely: we all have one foot that is longer than the other. In general, for right-handed people, the right foot is dominant; and the opposite is true for left-handed people. That’s why it’s important to try on both shoes, not just one.

If you don’t feel that the shoes are perfectly adapted to your foot, it means that you shouldn’t buy them. Too often, we give in to temptation when we find a pair of shoes that we absolutely fall in love with. We tell ourselves “It’s no big deal, the shoe will naturally conform to my foot” or “It’ll pass, I’ll break them in, and the leather will stretch”. However, it’s better to continue searching for the right pair, thus preventing injury.

If you would like to receive personalized advice, contact one of our experts in Podiatric Medicine at the St-Charles Podiatric Clinic, Pierrefonds, at (514) 696-3100.

We wish you a happy and well-shod return to school!

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