I’ve learnt a lot about feet in the last couple of weeks! Namely about childrens toes and how they differ from ours. This latest fact finding was prompted by G noticing that E’s 4th toe on each foot was looking a bit turned in. We came to the sad conclusion that E’s growing feet were not entirely happy inside his correctly sized, but narrow toed shoes. You’d think E might have complained but no toddler toes don’t feel pain in the same way that our stiff bones do. Their toes are so malleable they simply squash into their new position and get on with running and jumping as if nothing had happened. You can imagine how horrified we felt when that penny dropped! Thankfully the squishiness of toddler toes mean they’re easily corrected with lots of barefoot play and buying better suited, wide toed footwear.
And so began my researching into barefoot shoes. I recalled reading an article some years ago when Vibram five finger barefoot shoes exploded onto the market. They seemed a bit odd to me and I wondered how such a thin sole could be protective and durable over rough terrain in typical British rainy weather. According to reviewers it seems 3mm puncture resistant soles wear pretty well while providing good flexibility for hardworking feet. Barefoot shoes for children more specifically are designed with wide toddler toes in mind and make a lot of sense in terms of good footcare for kids. So does giving E the freedom to run and climb and kick about with suitably protected toes so I wanted to see for myself just how they compared to conventional shoes. I fired off a couple of emails to suppliers of Barefoot shoes and was delighted to receive two immediate replies back – both from small family run businesses set up by parents precisely because they care so much about children’s feet.
So this week, with the help of our friend J, a Clarks shoe fitter, we’re trialling a pair of boots from Bear-foot shoes and a couple of pairs of shoes from Happy Little Soles to review and providing some insights into the benefits of barefoot shoes. Excited? Just a bit ….
UPDATE: Barefoot shoes reviews now published
Barefoot adventures in Baby Bogs (Bearfoot shoes review)
Happy little soles for a busy little boy (Happy Little Soles review)