Chicago Tribune

Is online shoe-buying bad for kids' feet? And is that metal measuring device strictly necessary?

CHICAGO - It's a back-to-school tradition: a visit to the neighborhood shoe store, where employees pull out a well-worn metal foot measuring tool from under a seat to measure children's feet, fit them with the right shoes, and send them out the door, frequently wearing the new kicks.

Generations of students have participated in the ritual. The going wisdom was that young, growing feet needed quality shoes and a careful fit. At each visit, the shoe selection process got an assist from the Brannock Device, which dates back to the 1920s and helps decide whether to go up half a size

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