Sneakers or Sandals - What's right for PLAY?

Believe it or not, shoes play an important role in children’s development and can have a substantial impact on their long term health — including their posture, nerve signalling, balance, and overall bone and muscle formation. Hence, it is important to spend some time trying to understand the criteria for selecting the best kids shoes.

This is even more crucial when trying to pick Kids Play Shoes in particular. Read on to find out how to buy shoes for kids online or offline that are right for PLAY and why.

Play is one of the most natural yet complex movement activities that kids engage in, everyday. The beauty of play is that it is totally FREE! When children play, they twist, grip and turn their feet in a variety of ways. They play across all sorts of different surfaces, whether it’s mud, grass, concrete, sand or more.

In fact, you might have often noticed that kids tend to knock off their shoes before climbing monkey bars or trees or even when knocking around the ball in the grass. Ever wondered why? It’s because their shoes are not designed to support such multidirectional movements across such different surfaces.

So, let’s dig a little deeper into their cupboards to answer the question, sneakers or sandals – what’s the right shoe for PLAY?

1- Sneakers

What’s good for sport must be good for play, right? WRONG.

Unlike play, training in sport focuses on a specific set of movements on specific types of surfaces. Sneakers are usually designed for the specific use of track training (running and jogging) and only provide flexibility at the “ball point”. But when it comes to play it is important to pick fully Flexible Shoes For Kids – that allow their feet to move freely in all possible directions, naturally.

Sneakers are also narrow in front and tend to de-shape young feet to take up the shape of the shoe, over extended wear. Selecting wide fit shoes for kids gives their toes room to spread for proper balance and posture formation.

The biggest disadvantage with sneakers is the thick, over-cushioned soles that restrict the nerve endings at the bottom of young feet from feeling the ground; tampering with the growth signals to the brain that are necessary for proper muscle and arch formation.

2- Sandals or Floaters

Have you observed kids slipping into their old pair of sandals or ballerinas on their way out to play?

Even though sandals are not built for long hours of comfortable wear, children might still opt to wear these to play because of how they’ve opened up to take the shape of their feet over continued use.

No matter how ‘re-shaped’ and cozy they might’ve gotten, sandals are not meant to be used for play. Sandals and shoes like ballerinas that are designed for fashion purposes are not functional wear, they are party wear. As pretty and fancy as they might look, they are not healthy for developing feet and are inflexible, restricting the full range of movement necessary at play.

Floaters or Sports Sandals, on the other hand are open and hardly provide foot protection or coverage. Parents are often left fussing over mosquito bites, scratches or insect bites when kids head back home from play.

3- Clogs

But what about clogs? Clogs are so easy to slip on, so convenient. If not sneakers or sandals, clogs are perfect... right? NOT AT ALL.

Experts like podiatrists and child orthopedics continue to stress on how clogs are one of the unhealthiest options for growing feet. Clogs are very loose and non-adjustable, never really fitting the foot properly. This makes the foot muscles work hard to constantly hold the shoe to prevent it from slipping off. The thick, sweaty sole material also prevents ground-feel, and inhibits proper gait and posture development. So clogs will never feature in the list of best kids shoes when you check in with the Experts.

So, what must we look for when trying to pick the right pair of kids play shoes?

No matter the type of shoe, the best kids shoes are the ones that never come in the way of movement and growth. When shopping shoes for kids online or offline, always make sure that they:

✔Are the right FIT – never too loose or too tight
✔ Have a thin sole – never over-cushioned to prevent ground FEEL
✔Have good sole grip

When a shoe checks all these points you’ll know you’ve found the right shoe for your kiddos to get out there and PLAY!