There are posters like this in many local shoe shops. You might have seen advice like it before.
The human foot has 26 bones and 33 joints. The joints are meant to move. The muscles are meant to contract and relax. With each step the ligaments and tendons that attach to the bones of the foot provide shock absorption, like a spring. There are thousands of nerve endings providing ongoing sensory feedback to the brain to help the human move skilfully.
Telling parents to lock up their kids’ feet in the stiffest shoes available is like advising them to hobble their kids with a plank between their ankles.
No matter what age we are we should be as close to barefoot as we can as much as possible. In New Zealand we are fortunate enough to lack snakes, dangerously venomous spiders or any other critters or plants that might otherwise limit going barefoot. A lot of other countries are the same. Some say there’s a risk of cuts from glass etc, but when you really look at it that’s surprisingly rare. Compare that risk to the certainty of foot damage wearing these clodhoppers.
We should teach our kids to tread mindfully. This will make them much more agile and tuned in to their surroundings. There are some times when your kids will need to wear shoes. If so they should be the minimum necessary to do the job. I recommend Bobux for preschoolers, and Vivobarefoot for bigger kids (and beyond). Let's make sure that we give their feet the chance to develop naturally.
Look at it this way, they don’t need hard wearing, long lasting shoes anyway, as they grow out of them every five minutes. Smooth feet that get washed regularly are far more hygienic around the house than the grubby grippy shoes your little people will inevitably forget to take off.
Of course, the same principles are true of fully grown feet, though historical decisions make the application a delicate process. Join us at one of our upcoming events to explore this concept further.
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