I recently went shopping for children’s shoes and realized that I had been putting my daughter in shoes that were almost a size too small. After getting over the realization that she is much tougher than I sometimes give her credit for, I started thinking about the importance of shoes.
John Wooden would famously spend the first practice of the year with his world class athletes by teaching them to put on their socks properly. Commercials and advertisements highlighting the next great shoe flash on our TV and through our internet constantly, but often those shoe advertisements are for adults.
What about the growing boy or girl’s feet? What about the most important building block to an athlete’s performance? What do we say to them?
“Just squeeze into those shoes – you only have a few games left.” “Curl your toes a little – have you seen the price of shoes?”
From the feet up – we build up. All athletics start with the feet. When the feet go bad – the athlete goes bad.
We are going to depend on these feet for the rest of our lives. We are going to get bigger and those feet that you are staring at right now are going to have to support your growing body.
As expensive as shoes might be – they might be your best investment.
Time should be spent on buying shoes. But if we go to any shoe store across the nation, we will see parents say “They feel good? You like them? Walk around a little and the kid will take five steps and say ‘They feel fine.’” And the shoe buying experience is over and to the check-out stand they go.
So what should we be looking for with shoes?
Number 1: Size – A half size big for a growing child. Those feet are growing and need time to grow.
Number 2: Support – Every child’s foot is different and cannot be generically bought for. Some kids have flat feet and some have high arches. Each shoe brand generally makes their shoe more suited for particular support.
Number 3: Width: In general, kids have narrow or wide feet. Nike generally makes a narrow shoe. New Balance generally makes a wide shoe. Research it a little bit.
Number 4: Price: An expensive shoe doesn’t always mean it is a better shoe. The important issue is to find the fit from the first three and then make an economical choice.
We want expect so much from our kids and athletes on our teams. Make sure they have support from the ground up. Pay attention to their feet. Kids – pay attention to your feet. You are stuck with them and they are stuck with you.