How often should you replace your kids’ sports shoes?

How often should you replace your kids’ sports shoes?

Kids run and play hard, which means they need supportive, well-fitted shoes. We look at when you should be replacing your kids’ shoes … and it’s earlier than you might think.

By Margot Manning, podiatrist, runner and intraining junior athletics coach

In the rush of modern-day life, it’s easy to forget to check the wear and tear of your kids’ shoes. Many parents wait until their kids’ feet have grown right to the end of their shoes before replacing them. This can be a problem—by that time the shoe has usually worn out and is no longer providing the right cushioning or support for your active kids, which can lead to heel, foot or knee pain.

Kids are constantly on the go and they also experience rapid growth spurts at different times, which can really put a strain on their bodies. It’s important to keep their shoes up-to-date, in step with their changing needs. This can help reduce their growing pains and ensure they can keep enjoying their favourite sports and activities.

What to look for with your kids’ sports shoes

Finding the right sports shoe to fit your child can be a difficult task. You need to think about their specific sport and activities, what type of support they need and growing room. It’s a good idea to break up the process of shoe selection into four categories:

  • 1  The fit.   

    A child’s shoe must fit the foot snug through the middle of the foot around the arch. This is where they gain most of the support that prevents the foot from sliding inside the shoe. The heel should be held firmly. Toe room should be long enough to wiggle their toes, and to allow for a little growth, but don’t buy shoes that are too long to cater for future growth—this compromises the fit and can cause pain or other issues.


  • 2  The use

    Think about your child’s chosen sport/s and choose a shoe that is specifically designed for that sport. This ensures your child gets the best support and performance out of their shoes. Tennis, netball and cross training shoes have a stiffer toe-box than running shoes to prevent the foot from rolling sideways. Running shoes need flexibility at the forefoot to allow for an easy and powerful toe-off. If a shoe is too stiff, then it will put more stress on the muscles and tendons that bend the joints.


  • 3  Foot structure and function

    If your child has lower muscle tone, hypermobile joints or experiences regular injuries, it’s important to carefully select the shoe that provides them the right support, so they can enjoy their sports without pain. In many cases you may need to get your child’s feet fitted with orthotics, but it is good to see if a shoe can support the foot adequately before going down this path.


  • 4  Heel pain and other injuries

    Heel pain is a common complaint with active children and can sometimes be caused by incorrectly fitted shoes. This should not be brushed off as growing pains, as they can be legitimate injuries that can prevent them from continuing to play sport. If the pain continues or your child starts limping, see a podiatrist who can assess cause of the issue and provide an injury management plan.

Have you checked the condition of your kids’ sports shoes lately? It’s that time of the year when your child’s shoes might have worn out.  Drop in to the intraining Running Centre—we have a wide range of kids running shoes (including black, if it is a school requirement). Our team will help you select and fit the perfect shoe.

If you think your child may be suffering from foot, heel or knee pain, come in to the intraining Running Injury Clinic and see one of our podiatrists or physiotherapists who can help ensure that niggle doesn’t turn into an injury.


For bookings, call 3367 3088 today or email [email protected]

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