Did you know that children’s feet and clay are alike? Both begin their journey soft and flexible but as time passes these impressionable surfaces are worked and slowly change to form a mature structure capable of withstanding the forces that come their way.
Disney inspired and rainbow coloured with lights that illuminate their pathway, toddlers’ shoes are without a doubt as cute as a button. But are these cute fashion items causing a deeper problem than we realize? When toddlers begin to take their first steps the need to protect their cushioned feet against harmful surfaces and sharp objects increases, and therefore shoes become a more prominent feature in their daily lives. However, research has recommended that shoes only be worn in necessary situations.
Things you need to know
Strengthen their joints and muscles
What should I do, put shoes on or go barefoot?
Simple developmental prevention techniques
To prevent developmental complications in the future, here are a few recommendations to keep in mind when shopping for shoes.
- Possible falling can be caused by slipping, and therefore aim to buy a shoe with a rubber sole that grips the surface as they walk.
- Alongside this, try to choose a shoe with a soft and flexible sole as this allows their foot to move through the natural heel-to-toe movement which leads to the development of a normal walking pattern.
- A cushioned surface is also recommended to absorb the impact of forces and protect against possible sharp objects.
- Overall, allow children to walk the way it was intended: feet unconfined and little toes free to interact with the beautiful environment around them.
- Maffetone, P., 2015. Ticking Time Bomb: Children’s Shoes Cause Health Problems Later in Life for Adults.. [Online] Available at: https://philmaffetone.com/kids-shoes/ [Accessed 10 May 2022].
- Zech, A. V. R. d. V. J. S. S. W. K. H. K., 2018. Motor Skills of Children and Adolescents Are Influenced by Growing up Barefoot or Shod. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 6(115). Ong, S., n.d. Podiatrist Q/A: Footwear advice for toddlers. [Online] Available at: https://www.parenthub.com.au/questions-answers/podiatrists-footwear-advice-for-toddlers/#:~:text=Podiatrist%20Q/A%3A-,Footwear,-advice%20for%20toddlers [Accessed 10 May 2022].
- Montgomery FootCare Specialists , 2016. 8 Surprising Facts about Your Baby’s Feet. [Online] Available at: https://montgomeryfootcare.com/2016/06/8-surprising-facts-about-your-babys-feet/ [Accessed 10 May 2022].
- Aussie Childcare Network, 2021. Children Going Barefoot In An Early Childhood Setting. [Online] Available at: https://aussiechildcarenetwork.com.au/articles/childcare-articles/children-going-barefoot-in-an-early-childhood-setting#:~:text=Going%20barefoot%20stimulates%20them%20and,of%20muscles%20throughout%20the%20legs. [Accessed 10 May 2022].
- Simard Foot and Ankle Clinic, n.d. Feet Facts. [Online] Available at: https://www.simardfootclinic.com/feet-facts#:~:text=There%20are%20more%20nerve%20endings,side%20it%20slopes%20to%2C%20etc [Accessed 10 May 2022].