Growing Feet - Health Benefits of Going Barefoot and Minimal Shoes for Children
We care about healthy foot development at Soft Star Shoes! Our shoes are designed specifically for natural movement with flexible, wide soft soles and breathable, natural materials.
Caring for a child's feet will benefit their health, mobility and well-being throughout their entire lives. According to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, the 26 bones in our feet are not fully hardened (or ossified) until ages 12–18. In fact, children's feet are composed of relatively soft and flexible cartilage that gradually converts to bone with age. While children's feet are developing, the soft cartilage centers are fusing together. As such, the foot is at risk from injury and deformity due to ill-fitting footwear. Any postural foot abnormality can have an effect further up the body and permanently altering posture and walking style.
For a recent anniversary celebration, we asked our customer to tell us how their Soft Star Shoes make them feel. Take a peek at what they had to say, or scroll down for some helpful resources.
Kids Barefoot Research
Orthopedic specialists have long known babies learn to walk best barefoot. Growing scientific evidence shows that children's shoes should be designed on this model. Research on children walking barefoot or in minimal shoes shows:
Below are some research excerpts with regards to children's foot development you may find helpful. We also encourage you watch your child's movement and balance both with and without different types of shoes, and to consult with health experts.
"An elevated heel of any height on a child's shoe shortens the Achilles tendon and is the beginning of permanent tendon shortening. Soles that are over 6mm thick prevent 80 to 90 percent of children's foot flexibility, thus denying the foot its normal step sequence."
"Slimmer and more flexible children's shoes do not change foot motion as much as conventional shoes and therefore should generally be recommended for healthy children."
"Flat feet are most common in older children who wear closed-toe shoes, less common in those who wore sandals or slippers, and least in the unshod. A study of 2,300 children showed the incidence of flatfoot was 8.6% in those who wore shoes and 2.8% in those who did not wear shoes. While flat feet are not in themselves inherently bad and in some cases genetically unavoidable, you certainly would not want to "force" development with less arch than would develop naturally."
For additional research, the unshod organization compiles a list of relevant articles supporting barefoot or minimal shoes for healthy development.
We also recommend checking out the Sensory Digest website.
Healthy Footwear TipsBarefoot is best for healthy foot development. Obviously it is not always practical to be barefoot, which is why good shoe design is important for warmth and protection while simulating barefoot conditions. Here are some tips for finding healthy minimalist shoes: