Dr. Tonja Hunt is a physical therapist for Dartmouth Public Schools. As back-to-school shopping ramps up, Hunt is offering suggestions to help parents pick out footwear that will better serve children from a medical standpoint.

"Most of the time, people are only thinking about fashion and style when they are buying shoes, but there are some real medical benefits from wearing the right type of shoe, and some real medical drawbacks from wearing the wrong type.

Unfortunately, says Hunt, the most popular shoes right now are terrible for your kids' feet.

The three worst shoes to buy your kids are probably the three most popular out there, right now, according to the therapist.

They are Converse, Vans, and Crocs.

The problem with these shoes is that the arch support and shock absorption just aren't adequate, Hunt says.

"We even see issues with many styles of girl's flats. They just aren't made to properly support a foot. They slip right off their feet.

"The reason Crocs aren't great is because they are not supportive and place a strain on the sole and heel pad, causing the toes to have to grip. This can lead to issues with the foot and ankle, and they increase the chances of your child falling, especially during gym and recess. It's OK to run to the mailbox in Crocs, just don't wear them as your everyday shoe."

Hunt says shoes such as Converse and Vans are ok to wear while skateboarding or once in a while for fashion reasons, but parents should discourage their kids from wearing them on a daily basis.

Instead, Hunt recommends running shoes.

"All kids start with flat feet and they develop their arch as they grow. Running shoes of just about any brand offer the support kids need."

Michael Rock/Townsquare Media
Michael Rock/Townsquare Media

With the right shoes, Hunt compares the hips, knees, feet and even the spine to a properly aligned car.

"It just runs better," she says.

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