As parents, we want the best for our children. From the clothes they wear to the food they eat, we strive to provide them with everything they need to thrive. But what about their shoes? Are we giving them the best footwear for their growing feet?
As it turns out, the best shoes for kids are no shoes at all. Yes, you read that right - going barefoot is the healthiest option for children's feet. But we understand that going shoeless isn't always practical. So, if you must put shoes on your child's feet, kids barefoot shoes are the next best thing.
At our BGreater, we specialise in barefoot shoes for kids, including barefoot trainers and school shoes. But why are barefoot shoes better for children's feet, and why should you consider them for your child? Let's dive in.
Foot Health and Movement Health
Foot health is only one small part of our children's movement health. Our bodies are designed to move, and movement is crucial for our physical and mental wellbeing. The way we move affects our overall health, including our posture, balance, and coordination.
When it comes to our feet, they play a crucial role in our movement health. Our feet are the foundation of our body, and the way they move affects the rest of our body. When poor footwear choices are made, it can lead to a host of problems, including:
Knee, hip and back pain
Unfortunately, traditional shoes can be a big culprit in causing these issues. Most shoes have a narrow toe box, which squishes the toes together and doesn't allow them to spread out and grip the ground. This can lead to weak foot muscles and poor alignment.
Hip Mobility and Foot Health
Hip mobility is closely linked to foot health. Our feet are designed to be mobile and flexible, and when they aren't, it can lead to compensations elsewhere in the body. One of the most common compensations is in the hips.
Toddlers have lovely squats and hip mobility because they haven't spent much time sitting in chairs or on sofas. But as we get older and have to sit in school chairs, office chairs, and sofas, our anterior chain gets tight, and we lose the ability to move as we should. This can lead to restricted hip mobility, which can affect the way we move and lead to pain and injury.
As adults, we should be demonstrating to our kids how to move well. One great mobility exercise for adults to loosen the anterior chain and improve hip mobility is the "couch stretch." By doing this stretch regularly, you can help prevent compensations and keep your hips and feet healthy. A good target, for adults, is a 1min couch stretch, on each side, for every hour your sat throughout the day.
Why Barefoot Shoes Are the Way to Go
So, if traditional shoes can cause foot problems and restricted hip mobility, what's the solution? Barefoot shoes, of course! Barefoot shoes are designed to mimic the feeling of going barefoot while providing protection and support for the feet. However, as great as barefoot trainers our, they can’t be used in isolation the good movement patterns we have as children need to be continued throughout life.
Barefoot shoes have a wide toe box, which allows the toes to spread out and grip the ground. This promotes healthy foot development and strengthens the foot muscles. Additionally, kids barefoot shoes have a thin, flexible sole that allows for natural movement and sensory feedback from the ground.
Kids barefoot shoes also encourage a natural gait, which can improve posture and balance. Traditional shoes often have a raised heel, which throws off the body's alignment and can lead to knee and back pain. Barefoot shoes have a zero-drop sole, which means the heel and forefoot are at the same height, promoting a natural gait.
Finally, barefoot shoes are lightweight and comfortable.