and Podiatrists Recommend:
Flexible soles. The sole of the shoe should be thick enough
for protection while allowing the foot to move as naturally as possible.
As a test for a shoe you're thinking about buying, bend the shoe
at the ball. It should bend very easily.
Non-SlipSoles. Traction is important, too, especially on
hardwood and tile floors. Check the texture of the sole to make
sure it provides adequate traction. High-grade flexible leather,
cowhide (not pigskin) suede, Toughtek® or thin rubber are best.
Deep, wide toe box. Young toes are chubby and need plenty
of room to wiggle. A tight toe box should be avoided because it
squeezes the toes together; this can cause bunions and other deformities.
Soft, breathable uppers. Leather, suede & sheepskin
are ideal. Avoid plastic, imitation leather, or other materials
that can cause excessive sweating.
The following comments and observations are attributed to...
Dr. Lisa C. Moore
Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine
"During foot development, it is important for bones, muscles,
blood vessels and nerves to have room to grow without restriction.
"As the beginning walker stands up and takes the first
tentative steps, the muscles of the feet grip the floor and the
toes separate to help the child have better balance and control.
If feet are confined within a rigid shoe, the toes cannot operate
in this way, nor can the muscles of the foot and ankle develop the
strength necessary to hold her upright.
"Throughout a lifetime, foot health depends upon the flexibility
of the structures involved. This begins in infancy and continues
as we grow. If we wear rigid shoes, the bones cannot move freely,
resulting eventually in crippling arthritis.
"From a chiropractic standpoint, spinal health is connected
to foot health. Inflexible feet affect all the joints above, including
the spinal column. Many times, pelvic imbalance originates in foot
distortion such as fallen arches or dropped metatarsal bones. Every
step a person takes translates into either stability or instability
for all structures above. This process begins with that first step.
"Soft soled baby shoes allow the beginning walker to grip
the floor, developing strong ankles and flexible foot bones. This
creates a solid foundation for bone and muscle formation in the
rest of the body, especially the spinal column. A level pelvis and
straight spine depend upon healthy feet throughout our entire lives,
beginning in infancy."
The following observations and comments are attributed to...
Dr. Carol Frey
Associate Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
Manhattan Beach, California
"We don't need shoes for proper foot development. Walking
is a collaborative effort requiring constant communication between
the brain and feet. Nerve endings on the bottom of the feet sense
the ground beneath and send signals to the brain that help it determine
how and where weight should be distributed with each new step. Shoes
alter that feedback to the brain. The thicker the sole, the more
muffled the message.
"Shoes are not necessary for support or development of
the arch, they only protect the feet from the environment. Babies
and crawlers need only wear socks or booties to keep their feet
warm. Early walkers, too, should be allowed to go sans shoes whenever
they are in a safe, protected environment. Going barefoot helps
children develop stronger and more coordinated foot muscles."
The following are extracts from an interview with the president of
the Australian Podiatry Association
"[Children's] bones are soft cartilage, easily compressible,
and they don't feel pain until the damage is done."
The comment was made on the need for parents to be aware of the
damage that is being done by children wearing shoes. The Australian
Podiatry Association provides a free community service in an effort
to create greater awareness of the need to safeguard children's
30% of the children checked in the association's
survey (2,500 children) in an eastern Australian state were found
to be wearing footwear inadequate for day long use.
"The effects of childhood foot damage can show up in posture
and gait in the early twenties," the president said. "The
inability for a person to stand for any length of time without stress
can also be attributed to early foot problems. Shoes must take a
lot of the blame for claw toes, under and over riding toes, bunions
and ingrown toe nails, not to mention corns and calluses."
Foosies carries many brands of children's shoes for babies, infants, toddlers and children.