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Cheap Kids' Shoes Buying Guide

Bear in mind that sometimes cheap kids' shoes are too cheap. Experts caution that shoddy shoes can cost you more in the long run in the form of high medical expenses.

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A durable, stable shoe will keep kids safer and promote healthy foot development. At WebMD a podiatrist recommends sneakers or oxford-style shoes that offer flexibility in the toe and provide support in the heel region. Cheap children's shoes made of leather or other natural materials are preferable to synthetics. Going natural, so to speak, lets feet breathe and helps eliminate the risk of bacterial infections.

Ill-fitting footwear can lead to problems like ingrown toenails. Cheap children's shoes that are too narrow or too wide in the toe box are often the culprit. Experts caution that kids with incorrectly-sized shoes are at higher risk for foot and ankle injuries and may be less likely to participate in sports and physical activity.

Cheap kids' shoes that fit well should have a space of approximately half a centimeter, or a thumb's tip, between the front of the shoe and the toe. Toes should have enough room to wiggle, and the toe box should be wide enough that the toes aren't pushed together. To ensure correct sizing, doctors say to buy for the child's larger foot and have the child try on the shoes with the type of socks or tights he or she usually wears.

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When you find a pair of cheap kids' shoes that fit well and also satisfy the child's fashion sense, take two (in different colors or with slightly different markings) or pick an additional style that meets these criteria. Doctors recommend having two pairs of everyday shoes per child so each can be worn on alternate days. This tactic extends the life of cheap children's shoes by minimizing wear and tear and also reduces foot odor by allowing shoes to dry out completely.

Because shoes, over time, mold to the wearer's foot, the American Podiatric Medical Association strongly advises that you steer clear of second-hand footwear. Another potential peril to buying (or accepting gifts of) used children's shoes is the transfer of bacteria the previous wearer may have bred. If you do take pre-owned shoes, use common sense. Opt for footwear that's been lightly used and retains its original support structure. Another good rule of thumb -- accept hand-me-downs only from friends and family you know well because you're more likely to know if foot fungi might be lurking inside.

by Gina Briles (Google+ Profile)

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