For those of us who have put a lot of miles on over the years, insoles in our shoes are almost mandatory. After decades of walking on our feet, working on our feet, and abusing our feet, insoles are the only things that allow us to walk all day.
But think about it, we didn’t have insoles when we were children. Which probably makes you wonder, do kids need insoles?
THE BASICS ---
Many adults wear arch support insoles to relieve foot pain, improve athletic performance, or to make the footwear they own more comfortable. But do kids need insoles too?
Foot problems that go unaddressed during childhood can continue into adolescence and interfere with spinal function and biomechanics, causing issues with the knees, hips and spine.
If your child has back pain, foot problems, or participates in sports like soccer, baseball or basketball, they may benefit from adding insoles for kids to their footwear.
Tread Labs insoles begin at men's size 4/women's size 5. We recommend Ramble Insoles if you want to make your kid's footwear more comfortable. If you're child has plantar fasciitis or other foot pain, check out Pace Insoles. Or, if your kid is an athlete looking for an extra edge, shop our Dash Insoles.
Permanently flat feet are not common in young children. Most children won't even begin to show arches on their feet until they're over two years old. Between the ages of two and six, their arches are still forming. Some children don't develop arches until they are eight years old, however, if your child isn’t showing any sign of arches by age six, you should get a medical opinion.
As Chiropractic Economics points out, as children grow into adolescence, foot problems from childhood can interfere with spinal function, resulting in poor biomechanics degenerative changes in the knees, hips and spine. Addressing these issues as they appear can ensure that your child’s development is not affected in the long-term.
In fact, Joseph D’Amico, DPM calls out the fact that there is profound developmental potential associated with providing kids with orthotics. “The earlier treatment begins in the child, the more favorable the outcome.” He continued, “bone growth and alignment may be influenced in a positive manner to affect structural as well as positional changes achievable in the adult.”
Pronation - If your child walks on the inside of his feet, rather than on the sole. You’ll see it from behind.
Foot Pain - If your child complains of foot pain, there’s a good chance it’s caused by fallen arches.
Back Pain - Poor foot control and flat feet can cause back pain. If you child is complaining about pain, it might be a good idea to see the doctor.
Why Kids Need Insoles
Any parent who has tried to keep up with buying shoes for their child knows the foot grows faster than the rest of the body. By age 7, it is three-quarters of its full-grown length and by middle school, many kids are wearing adult sizes. This is around the time that kids can experience back and foot pain.
Because the shoes your child is wearing typically have very little arch support built-in or don’t have much in the way of cushioning, your child’s legs and back absorb the shock each time their foot hits the ground. Adding a pair of arch support insoles to their footwear can make a huge difference, especially if your kid participates in sports.
Consider insoles for your kids if:
Your child complains about back pain.Obviously your first stop should be a medical professional, but you may find that adding arch support insoles to your kid’s shoes will improve their biomechanics and alleviate their aches and pains.
They’re active. If your child is in athletics, particularly soccer or track, or spends the summer running around in the woods, a pair of kids’ insoles can cushion their feet and legs, helping to prevent joint problems and back pain later in life.
Your child has foot problems. As your child grows into a tween and teen, insoles can support the healthy development of their feet. This might prevent unusual walking later or even serious foot problems that originate from incorrect foot growth early in life.
Your doctor has recommended them. If your child’s pediatrician or podiatrist advises that you get insoles, there's sure to be a reason. Often, insoles are ordered when the arches aren’t developing correctly or the doctor sees unusual growth or movement in the foot. The comfortable restriction that a good insole puts on the foot will keep it growing well.
Their feet could be fresher. Foot odor is caused by bacteria in the shoe. Insoles that have an anti-microbial treatment can help reduce bacteria in the shoe, keeping athlete's foot and fungal growth at bay.
What Kind of Kid’s Shoes Need Insoles?
Shoe manufacturers want their footwear to fit the greatest number of people, so they design their products to be flat, without any arches at all. The shoes your children wear don’t have the support (and sometimes the cushioning) necessary to keep their feet comfortable all day long.
Sneakers - Most kids wear sneakers all day. The built-in inserts flatten out quickly. Adding arch support insoles will give their feet support while cushioning their heel for shock absorption.
Dress shoes - If your child wears a school uniform, they wear dress shoes. This is doubly true of children in military academies where the shoes are highly polished and rigid. Dress shoes are notorious for not having enough padding. Insoles can make kid’s dress shoes more comfortable and help eliminate pain from the foot to the back.
Sport shoes – If your child participates in a competitive sport like soccer or basketball, you want them to have every edge possible. Adding insoles to kid’s sport shoes can improve their biomechanics, lengthen their stride, and reduce their risk of injury.
Insoles for kids’ shoes are an important part of taking care of their whole bodies. They rely on their feet to get around and if they’re having biomechanical issues, early intervention can improve their long-term functioning. Talk with your pediatrician about adding insoles for kids to your children’s shoes and set them up for a pain-free, active live.
Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.