How often have we listened to our parents talk about the hardships they had to face growing up, many miles they had to walk to go to school or fetch water. Some of us might have had to break sweat too, to achieve things that are so easily accessible to our children. Now that we are parents ourselves, we want to protect our kids, nurture them with the best there is to provide. We look for the best schools, best games and toys, expensive branded clothes and shoes. Shoes that are “in”, shoes that are most soft and plush that promise to give “walking on clouds” experience with all its bouncy, shock absorbing features. But are we sure that this is what is best for our kids? Do we truly understand what best is, in the first place
So, the fact that there is so much information on the internet and despite or because of that you have reached here, is in itself a testimony to your being a good parent. You have the first step in the right direction to resolve all the queries regarding right shoes for kids.
As kids play and move around while feeling the ground beneath their feet, they form a better connection to the brain. The sensory receptors in the feet are stimulated while they register vital information about the terrain and trajectory of the feet.
This information is used by the brain to learn proper gait and body posture along with other natural movements. Studies have shown that children who wear thinner soled shoes have stronger and wider feet that are flexible and less prone to injuries compared to those who have worn cushioned shoes growing up.
Since the beginning of shoe manufacturing, shoe companies have mostly focused on designs that were fashionable and technically appropriate for the protection of feet. Thicker soles and the extensive cocoon-like interior of the shoe have become the norm as famous brands jump on this bandwagon of “sports shoes”.
A US-based pediatric orthopedist Dr. Staheli published a review on children's shoes and gait outlining the factors affecting children’s feet. He stated, optimum foot development occurs in a barefoot environment, stiff and compressive footwear may cause various deformities and weaknesses. He also emphasized that shoe selection for kids should be based on a barefoot model.
Another study published in the journal of foot and ankle research stated that softer padding in Shoes affects the gait of children. it further explained that with shoes on, children walk faster by taking longer steps with greater ankle and knee motion that encourages the foot to strike at heel first instead of on mid to forefront region, which has 3 times more impact force into the hips and knees. This could be the formula for chronic foot injuries and lifelong gait irregularities.
While it is not always practical to let kids go barefoot during play and other activities, we do have a choice to pick the shoes that allow the ground to feel to their feet along with providing protection.
At skoodo with shoes that have thin soles and are lightweight, kids can have a better chance at developing a stronger foundation for the whole body through their healthy feet. These shoes make it possible for the feet to feel the ground and be more mindful of their movements during play.
The feet form a connection through the sensory feedback loop with the brain which is vital to learn and maintain proper gait, body balance, and posture. With our minimalist designs children learn to walk, run, play in a manner that comes naturally to them without any external interference. Also there’s no undue impact on knees and ankle joints during these movements. Therefore, unlike the thick cushion soled shoes that come in the way of ground- feel and deprive kids’ feet of experiencing nature, our shoes have thin, flat rubber soles that let the feet connect with the ground along with keeping it safe and comfortable.
Don’t we all agree that no parent wants to spoil their kids with excessive coddling or lower their confidence to go out into the world by shielding them from anything challenging, then why would we want to do that to their feet? So, should we let kids walk on clouds? We don’t recommend it. Instead, we say let them walk on the ground in skoodo shoes with their head in the clouds.
For kids to make the best of and live to the fullest in their childhood, we, as parents, need to give them the right shoes to wear. Because, nor would they get to be kids again neither would their bodies get to grow again.
Effect of children's shoes on gait: a systematic review and meta-analysis from the journal of foot and ankle research.
Shoes for children: a review by Dr. LT Staheli