Foot growth in children: accompanying their needs

From birth to adulthood, it takes a long time for the feet of your child to fully develop. The structure and needs of the feet develop gradually as they grow from the moment the child starts learning how to walk. Here's everything you need to know to ensure that the feet of your child develop properly from 0 to 15 years old!

A child is far from being just a miniature version of an adult: they develop their motor skills and learn to move thanks to their reflexes, first of all. Little by little, they learn to control their movements, particularly that of walking.


When children are finally ready to stand up, they will walk by leaning their entire body weight forwards. At this age, the foot does not roll through from the heel to the toe, and each step involves a loss of balance that is recovered by the movement of the foot. It is the foot placement that recovers the balance and allows the child to continue walking forwards without falling over.

At this age, the foot is flat and fleshy: The midfoot arch as well as the bones and muscles of the feet form gradually. That's why the foot needs to be allowed to move as freely as possible.


From 2 to 7 years old: the child learns to walk like an adult

Little by little, your child will learn to walk in every direction, as well as going up and down. This is a period when they will be exercising their motor skills a lot. Their movements will become increasingly precise and this is why they should get as much exercise as possible!

It is a phase during which your child will build up their repertoire of motor skills by acquiring experience. The foot muscles will strengthen and the bones of the feet will develop while the midfoot arch takes shape.


What footwear should you choose for children, aged between 2 and 7, to allow their feet to develop properly?

From the ages of 2 to 7, it is advisable to keep any interference between the ground and your child's foot to a minimum. This is so that the muscles of the feet can become stronger and the walking skills can develop more easily. This is the best way to strengthen the muscles of the feet properly and ensure that they grow in the best way possible.

It is therefore advisable to choose lightweight shoes with relatively little cushioning, flat soles and as much grip and flexibility as possible so that your child can move freely on all types of surface.


From 7 to 15 years old: accompanying children into adulthood

From the age of 7, your child will optimise all of the knowledge that they have previously acquired. As they grow, their needs will change: the child will gain body mass, grow taller and gradually need cushioning to support their feet. 

During this period, you need to watch out for any signs of osteochondrosis as the feet grow as well as certain pathologies that occur when the growth areas are exercised too much, leading to pain in the feet, knees, hips and back. This involves making sure that your child does not feel any pain and consulting a chiropodist to make sure that their feet are developing properly in keeping with their growth and the natural increase in their body mass as they grow taller.

• A solution for accompanying the new needs of your child: putting an insole with cushioning in their shoes.

Thank you to the Decathlon Research Centre for sharing their knowledge with us!