Children’s growing feet : meeting their needs

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From birth to adulthood, your child's feet have a long road to travel before they reach maturity. The structure and needs of their feet will develop over time, from the moment when they first start to walk. We'll tell you all you need to know about helping your child's feet grow healthily!

 Children are far from being miniature adults: they develop their motor skills and learn to move based on their reflexes. Little by little they learn to control their bodies, particularly when it comes to walking.

0 to 2 years: tottering toddlers

When your child is finally ready to stand up, they'll move by throwing all of their bodyweight forwards. At this age children often move head first, followed by their whole body, with their legs struggling to keep up. They'll learn to balance best and avoid taking tumbles by placing their feet flat on the ground, rather than by rolling their feet from heel to toe.

During this phase, their feet are flat and fleshy: the instep, bones and muscles will gradually begin to develop.

2 to 7 years: children learn to walk like adults

Gradually your child will learn to walk in all directions, up stairs and down stairs. They'll really get their motor skills working during this time. The movements will become more precise, so a maximum amount of activity is recommended to speed them along!

During this period, your child will build up their repertoire of movements. Their feet will grow muscles and the bones and instep will start to take shape.

Which shoes are best for helping your child's feet to develop?

From ages 2 to 7, it's recommended that you don't let too much get between the floor and your child's feet in order to help them build muscle and learn to move better.

It's the best way of building up foot muscle and helping them develop healthily.

You're recommended to choose lightweight shoes without any cushioning, but with a flat sole and maximum grip and flexibility so that your child can move around freely on any type of floor.

7 to 15 years: accompanying your child towards adulthood

From the age of 7, the feet's bones become more stabilised and muscles begin to grow fully. Your child will become an expert at everything they've previously learnt. As they develop, their needs will change. They will grow upwards and outwards, gradually needing a bit more cushioning under their feet.

You therefore need to make sure they don't have any heel pain, and visit a chiropodist to make sure their feet are developing as they should.

  • One way to meet your child's changing needs: put an insole in their shoes for more cushioning.

Many thanks to the Decathlon Research Centre for sharing their knowledge with us.

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