[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]The running shoe is a relatively new invention (only about 200 years old), so researchers are still refining what creates the perfect running shoe. When choosing a child’s shoe, keep in mind that they are growing and developing key motor skills that they will use throughout their life including motor skills for their feet.
Feet were meant to naturally move and bend along with uneven surfaces this is how humans would run and walk before shoes were invented.
With modern-day living, surfaces are mostly flat, and the trend is now to protect our feet, and shoe companies lean towards designing more thick, highly cushioned shoes. However, research is now finding that these bulky shoes can interfere with the natural movement of feet. The high amount of padding tends to create rigid and inflexible feet, weakens the foot muscles, and end up changing our natural way of walking (since our feet no longer have to naturally move and bend along uneven surfaces).
So What Shoe Should My Child Wear?
How can we tell what makes a good running shoe ? Luckily, experts have categorized running shoes on the “Minimalist Index.”. They are measured and analyzed then graded between 0% to 100%, where 100 % minimalist would be a nearly bare-footed type of shoe, and 0% would be extreme cushioning. Factors taken into account are the flexibility and weight of the shoe, stack height (the height of the sole), heel-to-toe drop height (of the sole), and presence of stability or motion control technologies in the shoe.
A more minimalist shoe that would not interfere with normal foot development would be more flexible, more light-weight, a smaller stack height and heel-to-toe drop, and would lack stability or motion control technology. This type of shoe will allow the foot to naturally adapt to differing surfaces, which would develop foot muscles. The minimalist shoe will also encourage a natural pattern of walking, which otherwise tends to be altered when using a more maximalist/cushioned shoe.
To find the minimalist percentage of shoes, check out this footwear catalog (http://therunningclinic.com/en/shoes/ SearchText=&TypeId=26609&Sex=&Range=&SortId=2).
A lot of studies are pointing towards a more minimalist shoe for foot health. It is important especially for children because it will allow them to walk naturally and develop their foot muscles. In addition, increasing the amount of time spent doing bare-footed walking and playing (in safe areas, of course) can help strengthen muscles and tendons that are important for your child’s development.
Keep in mind that no one shoe is perfect for all children. Please see a specialist if you know your child has other conditions or factors to consider before switching shoes. Also, if the child is playing a sport or a runner, make sure the change is very slow and gradual. Consult a specialist before beginning the transition to avoid injury.
- A consensus definition and rating scale for minimalist shoes, Esculier J.F., Dubois, B., Dionne, C.E., Leblond, J., and Roy, J.S. (2015). Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 8:42
- Barefoot and Shod Running: Their Effects on Foot Muscle Kinetics. Sinclair, J.K. (2015). Foot and Ankle Online Journal 8:2
- Habitual Minimalist Shod Running Biomechanics and the Acute Response to Running Barefoot. Tam, N., Darragh, I.A.J., Nikhil, V.D., Lamberts, R.P. (2016) Int J Sports Med. 38(10):770-775
- Effects of Training in Minimalist Shoes on the Intrinsic and Extrinsic Foot Muscle Volume. (2016). Chen, T.L Louis, K.Y., Szeblrene S.D., Cheunga, R.T.H. Clinical Biomechanics. 36:8-13