The best thing you can do for your children is to let them go barefoot until they become teenagers. But, most institutions require that they wear some form of footwear. Here are the healthy elements to look for in a pair of shoes for your little one:
- WIDE TOE BOX: with enough room for all the toes. The shoe should have more of a square shape in the front than a pointy shape (to prevent toe deformities).
- 1/2-1/4 INCH TOE SPACE IN FRONT: Be sure there is enough room for growth and it’s very important that you check your child’s shoe-fit on a monthly basis.
- FLEXIBLE SOLE: the stiffer the sole, the less movement your child’s feet will have, and this will hinder muscle development.
- NO ARCH SUPPORT: it’s the job of your child’s feet to develop arches in the first years of walking. Arch support will make the shoe stiffer and prevent muscle development.
- ZERO DROP: Generally, children’s shoes that are very flexible, don’t have a heel lift. If there is more padding in the heel than the rest of the shoe, the child will be forced to walk and run at unnatural angles and will develop an unnatural shortening of tendons (such as the Achilles).
When choosing a shoe, trace their footprint on a sheet of paper and compare it to the sole. Be sure the foot tracing is completely overlapped by the sole.
Here are some great shoe options from recommended brands: