For Sneakers and Athletic shoes:
PR Running: Owned by Rich and Jessica Allen, PR running is a store where serious runners in the Metrowest area often end up trying to find the right shoe. They are skilled at finding the running shoe for runners of all abilities. PR Running is located at 18 Lyman St in Westboro next to Tatnuck Booksellers. Click here for website. (508) 366-8101
Marathon Sports: Marathon sports is new to the area, but not to Massachusetts. They offer a similar selection to both Sneakerama and PR Running and have a large selection of apparel, compression gear and nutrition for running. They are located in White City, eastbound side of Route 9, Shrewsbury, MA.
Barefoot (Minimalist) Friendly Shoe Stores:
Specialty Stores for SAS Shoes and Extra Depth/Comfort/Diabetic Friendly Shoes:
Panza Shoes in Framingham has long been the place to go for hard to find sizes. Panza, along with Dow, carry the SAS brand of shoes in addition to a full line of men’s and women’s shoes of all styles and models. Click here for website. (508) 872-3334
Evans on the Common in Townsend, MA is another full service, family run shoe store that has a complete selection of shoes as well as clothing and other accessories that you may only find in the picturesque setting of Townsend. Click here for website. (978) 597-5117
Michelson’s Shoes is another full service, family run shoe store located a little further from Worcester, but with 2 locations (Lexington and Needham) and a full array of shoes both trendy and functional, they are an excellent choice for any age individual looking to find whatever the right shoe may be. Click here for website. (781) 862-1034 Lexington (781) 449-2753 Needham
That said, shoes are a necessity in the modern world. Stride Rite has been a leading children’s shoe designer for decades and dedicates themselves on research and development, as well as how to properly fit shoes to children’s feet. I am particularly fond of Stride Rite’s SRT shoe line. SRT stands for Sensory Response Technology and keeps in mind the basic principles that children need and want to be barefoot as long as they possibly can!
Keep in mind that feet should be allowed to grow unencumbered. Feet can adapt as they grow, and if you force the shape of the shoe on a growing foot, then the foot will adopt that shape. So find a shoe that has the shape and appearance of the foot! Use the sock liners that come out of the shoe to gauge the shape and size as compared to the foot. Remember, your child isn’t going to be able to give you reliable feedback on how a shoe fits. Try also to avoid elevating the heels, and keep with flat bottom shoes. By keeping the feet flat on the ground, it helps children balance as though they are barefoot, and will make the transition easier.
Most importantly, children’s feet grow at different rates at different times in their lives. The growth of the foot often precedes the increase in height, so as parents, we aren’t always cued in to the foot size. Check often by using the “sock liner trick” in which you measure the foot on top of the removable sock liner.
For children approaching 4th and 5th grade, they can usually start to fit more adult style shoes. If they’ve been raised in a minimalist way (using shoes that are similar to Stride Rite’s SRT shoes, or encouraged to be barefoot as much as possible or just love being barefoot), then shoes such as Lems are a great choice for school and every day use, and is a major reason why Central Massachusetts Podiatry carries this line. Vivobarefoot also has a full selection of children’s minimalist shoes and can be checked out online. When fitting for Sporting shoes and cleats, keep the principles of shoe fitting in mind; fit foot to sock liner of shoe, get a shoe that is shaped like the foot.
You can also refer to an article about my overall feeling on shoes, written to help better understand the role of shoes; please click here.
Neil Feldman, DPM
Central Massachusetts Podiatry, PC