Many children shoes have adult shoe designs, which are scaled down to fit kids, but children’s feet are shaped differently than an adult’s feet, and require different features than adult shoes.
Children’s shoes that feature an elevated cushioned heel and arch support were regarded in the past as comfortable and beneficial, but recent research shows that they actually cause more harm than good.
Dr. Lee Bivings, a pediatrician from Atlanta, has found that more than 60% of babies have acquired foot problems at just six years of age because of badly shaped shoes.
Dr. Rossi, a podiatrist who specialized in footwear, warned about the risk of this type of shoes on children’s foot development.
Medical experts worldwide agree now that barefoot walking is the best thing for healthy foot development, for proper posture development, and for building stronger muscle and bone structure.
Barefoot might be best but it’s not always practical, and therefore, children shoes should allow the foot to function as close to barefoot as possible. When choosing your child’s shoes look out for the following features:
Flexible shoes allow the foot and ankle to develop most naturally by enabling the foot to respond to changes in the walking environment. When choosing a toddler shoe, you should be able to easily bend it to insure that it adapts to the surface, and that it allows free foot movement. Inflexible, rigid shoes that restrict motion are potentially harmful to kids’ foot development.
With wide toe-boxes
Children’s feet are not just a scaled down version of adult’s feet. They have a triangle shape, which is wider at the toes, and need shoes to reflect this. Good toddler shoes require a correspondingly much bigger toe area than the shape of an adult shoe. Shoes with wide toe boxes enable the child to wriggle their toes freely, and allow their toes to spread without constriction. Not only should the toe box be wide, but the opening to the shoe should also be wide enough to enable the foot to slip in easily, without having to squeeze the toes in any way.
The interior lining, which is the interface between
the shoe and the foot, should be soft and smooth to avoid irritation. The best material for children’s shoe lining is fabric, padded with foam, similar to the one in athletic shoes. It is recommended to put your hand inside the shoe, and check that the interior of the shoe is completely smooth.
The best soles should simulate barefoot conditions, while protecting the child’s feet. Mechanically it means flat and thin, without heels, arch supports or other "molding" features. Soling material should be slip-resistant, shock absorbing and very flexible.
For more information on Comfortable and Healthy Toddler Shoes, visit the KidOFit.com.