Step It Up!

Four young people in sneakers. Photo by Ben Weber on Unsplash.

My shoes are too tight! Knot again!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Time to buy new school shoes AGAIN? You blink and the kids have outgrown them! Is it okay to just squeeeeeeze their feet into last year’s pair?

Elsa Matthias and colleagues at the University of South Australia wondered.

They recruited a group of pre-teens to lace up different sizes of leather school shoes. The shoes were one size too big, one size too small, and JUST right! The researchers measured the kids’ foot motion and comfort levels while walking and jumping. 

Results? Shoes that were TOO SMALL actually restricted how they walked. The tweens also rated them as uncomfortable. But tight shoes didn’t seem to have an impact on jumping!

Further research is needed. However, a bad fit may result in future foot development problems! So, if you’re looking for new kicks – make sure they fit with the SOLE of approval!

Start the school year off with a STEP in the right direction! AND a Justin Bieber lunchbox! … maybe.

Reference: Matthias, E., Banwell, H. A., Arnold, J. B. Children’s school footwear: The impact of fit on foot function, comfort and jump performance in children aged 8 to 12 years. Gait & Posture, 87, 87-94, (2021).