The Benefits of Minimalist Footwear for Kids
Less is more for optimal development of young feet.
Tiny baby sneakers and their equally cute toddler counterparts are irresistible to parents and well intentioned gift-givers alike, but they fall short when it comes to the developmental wellbeing of feet. Those thick soles, narrow toe boxes and all that excessive cushioning so popular with the big athletic brands? Well, these days you’d be hard pressed to swing a cat without hitting an expert saying those features are bad for children’s feet and can lead to significant issues down the road.
We all love us some squishy newborn feet. They’re just mini versions of our adult feet right? Not at all. A newborn’s foot contains mostly cartilage and 22 partially developed bones which, by the late teens, ossify to become the 26 bones in the adult human foot. That’s why it’s pivotal your children’s footwear is carefully selected during the time the foot is in the developmental stage.
Consider now that the majority of shoes sold to crawlers and walkers do not allow the foot to function as it should. They are stiff and compressed, interfering with babies’ and toddlers’ development as they’re learning how to walk. I can’t be alone as I sympathetically flex a foot right now.
So what should you put on your little explorer’s feet? Well, it’s hard to argue that barefoot is best, given that the foot is provided freedom for proper movement. However, it’s not always safe or practical to do so and that’s where we can look to research as far back as 1991 supporting barefoot-style shoes for children.
Commonly referred to as minimalist or barefoot shoes, this footwear is very lightweight and flexible throughout, featuring low heel height and minimal cushioning. As a result, those tootsies are maintaining a sensory connection to the world beneath them, while enabling a natural walking and running gait. How good is that?
Now instead of casting a guilty eye at those mini Stan Walkers that just arrived in the mail (as parents you don’t need another reason to feel guilty!), start by letting your kids go barefoot whenever possible. Then, when they inevitably refuse to stop growing, head out for some minimalist footwear you can fold in half and maybe even put in your pocket.
In fact, we know just the place! Each pair of Lil Soles follow the minimalist ethos, lovingly handcrafted with the health of your lil babe in mind. What’s more, they’re undeniably Insta-ready. See for yourself at lilsoles.com.au and use the code MINIMALIST for 10% off your order.