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Parental guidance: Best shoes for toddlers

Find out what to look for when buying

Find out what to look for when buying shoes for a toddler. Credit: iStock

Q. What do experts say about high-top children's shoes? Should I buy my toddler the higher shoes for more ankle support? Or is it not good for a developing foot?

A. "High-top shoes used to be the biggest rage years ago," says Dr. Michael Pliskin, chief of podiatry at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. "All the NBA players used to wear them." It wasn't just for swag -- doctors and trainers used to believe that they gave more protection to the ankle, Pliskin says.

Then studies showed that high-top shoes didn't do as much as previously believed to support the ankle, Pliskin says. "Over the past 10 years, doctors and trainers have gotten away from the high-top shoe," he says. "It's not in vogue anymore."

What's needed is just a good-quality shoe that supports the arch, he says.

However, if a child has a sprained ankle or some other issue with the feet, then Pliskin might recommend a high-top shoe. "The high-top shoe does stimulate the body's ability to turn the ankle back when it starts twisting. It does offer a degree of help," Pliskin says. But that degree is too small to warrant recommending high-top shoes across the board.

If you just like what they look like, by all means buy them, Pliskin says. "There's nothing wrong with it," Pliskin says. "It's not necessary, but it's not bad."


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