Benefits beyond looking cool.....
Podiatrists agree, and research shows, that BAREFOOT IS BEST FOR DEVELOPING FEET. It is really important to ensure that children's feet stay well looked after, and are given the FREEDOM TO MOVE AND GROW. If they are not given this freedom, it can lead to a number of HEALTH PROBLEMS IN LATER LIFE. To achieve this, ensure your children stay barefoot as much as possible. When they are wearing shoes, choose those that have a WIDE TOE BOX to allow toes to wiggle, A FLEXIBLE SOLE so the feet can bend naturally, and are BREATHABLE UPPER (as children's feet sweat twice as much as adults!). It’s also important that the soles on their shoes have enough grip to ensure they don’t slip when exploring.
1. Children's feet are not miniature versions of adult feet
They are born with fewer bones [22 rather 26 as an adult] and more cartilage. Naturally developed feet should be widest at the tip of the big toe (just like our logo....or my kids' feet).......toes need wriggle room!
Therefore shoes should have....A WIDE TOE BOX
2. Children's feet need to have freedom to move and feel the ground
Children's feet need to have freedom to move and feel the ground. There are an estimated 200,000 nerve endings in the feet - critical for sensory function.
Therefore shoes should have......A FLEXIBLE SOLE
3. Children's feet sweat twice as much as adult feet
Feet need to breath, there are up to 250,000 sweat glands per foot!
Therefore shoes should be.....MADE FROM NATURAL BREATHABLE MATERIALS
SO WHY IS BAREFOOT BEST FOR YOUR CHILD?
When baby takes their FIRST STEPS we can’t wait for the next moment when they put two and two together and walk unassisted for the first time. There is no manual for this and our first thoughts are to put shoes on their precious little feet to protect them from the great outdoors or just to assist them in walking, but the fact is - barefoot is best!
As parents, we often worry too much about protecting our young from the elements by putting them in FOOTWEAR TOO EARLY, HINDERING their natural development. Did you know that one of the most important things for children’s feet is actually that they do not wear shoes?
Going barefoot is best for children because little feet start life so INCREDIBLY SOFT and PLIABLE. They need absolute flexibility to develop as Mother Nature intended. Tight fitting socks, rigid soles and materials that don't move with wriggles and stretches, can hamper healthy development.
Growing feet need plenty of freedom for muscles to strengthen, toes to learn to grip and spread and for bones to form in a natural position. The only way this can happen is to be barefoot the majority of the time, especially in the first years of life. An actual fact is that 70% of our brain’s information on how to walk, run, and jump comes from the nerves on the soles of our babies feet; so the more they can feel the ground, the greater the baby’s understanding of their surrounding environment. Along the way, natural movement will happen.
So, what could be more essential than getting their shoes right?
Did you know? Toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot. The feedback they get from the ground means there is less need to look down, which is what puts them off balance and causes them to fall down. Walking barefoot develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot and increases the strength of the foot's arch therefore, improving awareness of where they are in relation to the space around them and contributes to good posture.
We will be continuing to add to this section to offer a database of knowledge of parents interested in more specialised areas of foot health. Therefore please sign up to the newsletter (bottom of the page) for updates when this happens.