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The Perfect Fit

When a child needs new shoes, it is important for parents to watch carefully how the sales clerk goes about fitting them. The American Podiatric Medical Assn. offers some suggestions on finding a proper fit:

* A child’s feet should be measured when the child is standing up, preferably in the afternoon because natural swelling occurs at midday.

* Because there are sometimes significant variations in size between the right and left foot, both feet should be measured. Shoes should be selected to fit the larger of the two.

* To determine whether a shoe fits, a sales clerk should not just press on the tips of the shoes because that might cause a youngster to curl his toes. Instead, the clerk should run a thumb down the length of the longest toe. A half-inch space should remain between the toe and the end of the shoe.

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* Shoes should be checked for width as well as length. The ball of the foot should fit snugly into the widest part of the shoe. As the child stands or walks, there should be no gapping at the sides or slippage in the heel. There should be room for comfortable movement at the top of the shoe. And the edge of the shoe should not rub against the ankle bone.

Don’t ever consider a shoe that needs to be “broken in,” the podiatric association says. “A shoe that fits correctly will be comfortable from the moment your child puts it on.”


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