Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

14.32 21 Feb 2021


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There have been calls for shoe fittings for children to be deemed an essential service.

Under the current level five restrictions, all non-essential retailers must remain closed.

This includes shops where toddlers and children are measured for the correct fitting shoes.

Parents and grandparents phoned into Lunchtime Live during the week explaining how the closures were impacting their families.

Patricia got in touch saying she has a grandson who has started walking and needs shoes.

However, he cannot get them as his feet need to be fitted and all non-essential retail outlets are closed.

"To me, that is quite an essential thing for a little boy, he needs shoes.

"All the shoe shops where you take them to be measured are closed, and we don't want cheap shoes on him to protect his feet.

"I think it's a very essential thing, even if [shops] opened and allowed them to be measured and let them buy the shoes."

The family want to be able to bring the toddler outside but they can't without shoes, Patricia added.

"There's lots of other children who are walking this year, he's a COVID baby so everything's been locked up since he's been born."

shoe fitting Image by ArtificialOG from Pixabay

Another listener said she had a similar issue during the first lockdown.

She measured the child's foot herself and then contacted her local shoe store for advice on a suitable shoe size.

Jackie Conway, a podiatrist at Dundrum Clinic, agreed that shoe fittings for children should be deemed an essential service.

"If you think about it, that first shoe is very important.

"The child has been lying down, now they're standing up and walking, they're putting their body weight on that lower limb and damage can be done if the foot is not looked after properly."

She advised families that some companies who make children's shoes have foot gauges on their websites which can give them an idea of what shoe size to get.

There are also videos available online and on YouTube detailing how to measure a child's foot at home.

"It's not ideal, but in these COVID times it's better than nothing," she added.

Jackie explained that once a toddler starts walking, you should give them about six weeks to find their balance and then go to a store to have their first shoes fitted.

Once in the shop, the fitting is assessed both when the child is sitting and standing.

She explained: "They look for particular problems that could arise, they look to how the child is standing, where it needs protection, where it needs support.

"A child's shoe is not like an adult's shoe, it's a different shape, it's like an inverted triangle."

Other options for families is to purchase a shoe gauge online which cost around €20, Jackie added.

People can also contact their local podiatrist for advice, she said.

Joe Cripps from Cripps Footwear in Dublin said it can be tricky for parents trying to get the first pair of shoes for their child during lockdown.

"I would think, if they had a choice, 90% of parents with children of one, or two, or three years of age would rather get them fitted and have a choice of going in and trying things on," he said.

Main image: File photo. Credit: Pexels from Pixabay

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