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It is that time of year again where the nights become cooler and those warm summer days become just memories.  That's right, it's back-to-school time.  And it is important to send your children back to those classrooms with proper shoes.  In evaluating a shoe, there are characteristics I emphasized with my patients.  First, good arch support.  Our feet are not meant to walk on the hard surfaces that exist in our society such as cement and hard school floors.  Our feet are more inclined to properly function on sand and grass.  Because of the hard surfaces we need to walk on, arch support in her shoes are crucial to prevent flattening of the feet and various symptoms which can occur as a result.  The 2nd characteristic I like to look for in a quality shoe is good shock absorption.  For many of the same reasons that arch support is important, we need the shock absorption built into the shoe.  Without good shock absorption, the jolt of every step is felt throughout the spine and over years can result in arthritic changes.  In the shorter term, it can result in joint pain.  We all want our children to be able to focus on schoolwork and having fun in pain free bodies.  The 3rd characteristic that is very important is to get a shoe that fits properly.  Now this sounds very obvious.  However, most people focus on the length of the shoe.  The width of the shoe is equally as important.  3 kids can have a size 5 shoe and one may need a narrow shoe, one may need a wide shoe and the third may need a shoe somewhere in the middle.  The fourth characteristic involves a strong heel counter.  This means that part of the shoe that surrounds the heel should be sturdy.  If this part of the shoe is very soft and easy to squeeze with your hands, it will not stabilize the foot properly.  A high quality running or walking sneaker has all these characteristics.  If it is not possible to wear this type of sneaker at school, there are good quality walking shoes with rubber soles and laces and come in different widths.  A proper shoe is a good investment in our children's health.  Happy shopping.