What kind of children's insoles should I buy?
When looking to purchase insoles for children, the kind of insole your child needs depends on a few factors:
1. Shoe size
3. Activity level & type
4. Current pain symptoms
Even among different children's insoles, the available sizing varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. As such, shoe size is a critical thing to consider when purchasing a children's insole. Not only do you need to ensure that an insole is available in the shoe size that your child currently wears, but you'll also want to ensure that your child can continue to wear that insole as they grow — they might wear a toddler's size 7 now, but they'll need a larger size sooner than later, and you’ll want to be able to find the same product in a larger size!
Age is an important factor to consider since a child's foot arch is not fully developed until between the ages of 6 and 8. Until the foot arch is fully developed, it is generally recommended that you purchase a children's orthotic arch support to provide mild arch support to help promote the proper foot alignment and arch during this development period. After this age, orthotic arch support is less necessary for development and will benefit your child more as a preventative foot pain measure, or as a method of treating foot pain.
Activity level/type: After age 6-8, for normal everyday comfort, we recommend purchasing a cushioned arch support insole for your child's shoes. This will give them added cushion and comfort during everyday activities like school and playtime. For children who are active with sports and other high-energy activities, orthotic arch support is recommended to ensure that the foot remains supported and aligned during these activities to help prevent foot fatigue, pain, and injury.
Finally, whether or not your child is currently experiencing foot pain should influence what insole you purchase. Orthotic arch supports help keep the foot aligned and supported during all activities and work well as a preventative measure for foot pain. Cushioned insoles provide additional comfort in everyday activities and are often more comfortable for kids for everyday normal wear. However, if your child is experiencing pain in the heel or arch of their foot, you should certainly consider orthotic arch support over a cushioned insole.
Other considerations for buying a kid's shoe insole
All that said, parents still face a few big issues when it comes to buying shoe insoles or arch supports for their kids:
1. The insoles that you wear, as an adult, are not sized for children (since most insoles start at a men's size 3/women's size 5, which often will be too large for younger kids with smaller feet), meaning that you can't buy the same insoles for your kids.
2. A typical footwear retailer has a very limited selection of shoe insoles and arch supports, making it hard to find the proper item to suit your child's needs, even if you do find an item in their size.
3. Specialty insole retailers are either hard to find, have more expensive products, have a limited selection, or a combination of these issues.