What Shoes Should My Kids Wear?
Many parents are confused by the wide variety of shoes available for children today. Even baby shoes offer many options, but most parents may not be sure which style is the best for growing feet. Studies have shown that there is a particular style of shoe that is beneficial for growing feet to help avoid foot problems later in life. Barefoot is best for babies, since soft growing bones should not be constricted by rigid footwear that could cause damage to growing feet. Once the child begins to walk and needs protection for the feet, a soft soled shoe is the best option. Parents should look for shoes that have soft soles and allow flexibility when walking.
Footwear for children should not inhibit the natural movement of the foot. If the bones of the feet are not allowed to move freely or naturally, they can become misaligned or even damaged. While going barefoot may not be practical, it is the healthiest ideal for young feet, and shoes that most closely replicate this are best for children.
Rigid soles may seem to offer the best protection, but they can actually cause more harm than good. They can cause loss of mobility within the foot, and even lead to muscle weakness later on. It is very rare for children to need corrective footwear, and trying to force growing feet to fit into too firm or too tight shoes can cause them to grow out of alignment.
The early years of development are crucial for healthy feet later in life, so it is very important to choose the right shoes early on. Whenever possible, allowing the foot to be bare and in its natural state will encourage proper growth and development. A soft soled, flexible shoe should be the only type worn by young children to ensure that the muscles in the feet strengthen appropriately.
In order to avoid problems later in life, parents should choose shoes that most closely simulate being barefooted, and avoid any shoes that are too tight, rigid, or that force children's feet to move unnaturally. Until it is absolutely necessary for shoes, simply allowing the child to go barefoot is the best choice to avoid problems later in life.