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Shoe-Shopping Tips for Back-to-School

As the dog days of summer start to dwindle, parents everywhere will scramble to outfit their children for back-to-school. Stores will be inundated with moms and dads in search of the latest fads and fashions for their little ones, and shoes are sure to top the list. Children's feet change rapidly as they age, so it may be necessary to revisit the shoe store every few months. The American Podiatric Medical Association provides the following tips for parents to ensure the shoes they buy make the grade: * It's important to measure a child's foot before buying; feet are seldom the exact same size, and ill-fitting shoes can be aggravating. Be sure to buy for the larger foot. * Shop in the afternoon.

Feet tend to swell later in the day, so it's best to be fitted during this time to accommodate slight changes in foot size. * Select shoes that are comfortable immediately. Don't buy shoes that require a "break-in" period. * Look for a stiff heel. Press on both sides of the shoe's heel; it shouldn't collapse.

* Check the shoe's toe flexibility. The shoe should bend with your child's toes. It shouldn't be too stiff or bend too much. * Choose a shoe that is rigid in the middle. It should never twist. * Have your children try on shoes with the socks or tights they plan to wear with them. The APMA advises parents not to hand down footwear from an older sibling. A shoe that fits one child comfortably may not fit another the same way. Sharing shoes can also present a health hazard by spreading infections such as athlete's foot and nail fungus.


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