With 26 bones and 26 joints, feet are a complex business! When the feet are growing – which can take up to twenty years – the need for care is especially important. Children love to dance, and dancing is an exercise that boasts a range of benefits. From good posture to social interaction, dancing can offer something for all ages.
Growing bodies can, however, have specialised nutritional and exercise requirements. As the spirits soar, postures can slump and injuries can accumulate, especially in the feet. Here are some pointers that can help you to choose the right dancewear for your children.
1) Realise That Dancing Is A Sport
Would you let a child play football without studded boots? Or take to the slopes without the right sized skis? We’re used to the idea that sports require specialised equipment. However, dancing – so gentle and graceful – often slips under the radar.
That is, until the first injuries start to appear. Ballroom and Latin dancing are sports that involve energy, exertion, and, potentially, wear and tear. When it comes to elite sports, investing in the correct ergonomics is vital. For dancers, that is footwear.
Teachers guide: how do I know my student’s feet are safe?
There are some indicators that show that things are amiss.
- Aches are normal, but pain is not. If a student reports pain, check the shoes.
- Students learn in leaps and twirls, but if anyone in the class unexpectedly slips behind, look at their footwear.
2) Assess The Injury Risk
Injuries come in all shapes and sizes. Blisters can be uncomfortable, but are manageable with small adjustments to shoes. Strains, sprains, and tears are another matter altogether. They can temporarily prevent a dancer from exercising, and can also lead to long-term problems. Your child’s dance instructor can help to assess the risk of injury.
As long as the correct equipment, training, and techniques are used, there should be no problems. However, you can take straightforward precautions by ensuring that the right dancewear is used. Good dancewear includes wearing clothes that are breathable, and shoes that support crucial areas such as the arch and heel. It is also important to select clothing and footwear that meet the regulations of the relevant governing dance body.
Teacher’s Guide: What Am I Looking For?
When calculating risk, go with brands that you trust. Check whether they have good programmes in place for child dance shoes, and how much attention they pay to quality.
3) Look For Quality Materials, Design, & Ergonomics
It may sound obvious, but quality really does matter when it comes to children’s shoes. Growing feet are prone to many issues. These include collapsed arches, bunions, and ingrown toenails. Scientific research confirms that incorrectly fitted shoes are the root cause of most of these problems.
To protect children’s feet, there are several basic things to look for in a dance shoe:
- Toe room
- A flexible sole
- Breathable material
- A solid heel with correctly adjusted height
- Laces or straps that can be tightened to fit
- Shoes that reflect the natural foot shape
These rules apply to all children’s shoes, but dance shoes – in which children’s feet are put through their paces – are particularly important.
Teacher’s Guide: Assessing Quality
The quality of the shoe should be easily visible. If you’re not sure, ask who the manufacturer is and give them a call to get more detailed information.
Today’s children are the stars that will light up the dancefloors of tomorrow. Ensuring that they have excellent footwear is not only advisable, it’s necessary. When you need experience, quality, and dedication, Ray Rose is here to listen. Contact us for more information, or check out our free online guides for detailed advice about ergonomics and healthy footwear design.