Since receiving a pair of Baby Bogs from Bear-Foot as our introduction to barefoot shoes E’s worn nothing else ”I love my bog boots Mummy”. Ask him what he likes about them and he might say they’re blue, they have monkeys on them, they’re comfy or he can put them on by himself (all very important factors when you’re two years old). I suspect it’s simply because they have a name and every day sounds like an adventure with a call of ‘‘find your Bogs, it’s time to go”.
E’s first outing in his boots was to a local hotel to meet Nana and Grandad for Sunday lunch. Smart enough for dining out and as cosy as a pair of slippers with their plush Neo-Tech™ insulation lining E quietly played under the table with his cars as we waited for our food. We thought our post lunch stroll in the gardens would be a tame start for Es waterproof boots but were pleased to find the torrential rain of the day before had left the grass suitably soggy.
We couldn’t have foreseen that kicking about in a pile of innocent looking grass cuttings would result in a composty christening of his boots – thankfully Grandad was close enough to catch E before he catapulted face first into the middle of it! Talk about putting his boots through their paces! Two minutes later, cleaned with just a baby wipe, E’s boots merely looked a slightly darker shade of blue and once sponged at home virtually like new again. What a winning combination – 100% waterproof and machine washable for freshening up after really epic adventures.
It’s lovely letting E dash about in his Bogs without worrying whether he’ll trip and fall over (it has been known in conventional plastic wellies which lack the grip and flexibility of the Bogs). E seems to be all the more agile as he walks a tightrope or scrambles like a mountain goat at the playground and I suspect the natural vulcanized rubber sole is just half of the story.
The other half of the story is that barefoot shoes are designed with feeling the ground beneath your feet in mind and with plenty of wriggle room around the toes. When I contacted Phil at Bear-foot about E’s squashed toes he explained
”toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot. The feedback they get from the ground means there is less need to look down, which is what puts them off balance and causes them to fall down. Walking barefoot develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot and increases the strength of the foot’s arch therefore, improving awareness of where they are in relation to the space around them and contributes to good posture”.
Toddler feet are triangular shaped with a gap between the big toe and second toe – the result of the natural tendency of the feet to splay when unhindered by poor shoe design. Shoes that do not allow enough wriggle room at the toe end not only change the shape of the foot, potentially causing problems in later life, but also effect movement and stability.
”The big toe is essential for balance and for our forward movement. And by forward motion, we are talking interaction in the proper [kinetic] function of ankles, knees, hips and lower back (and beyond)…So for our children the big toe and it’s natural development is a big deal. The perfect shoe allows the foot to behave exactly as it would if bare”.
Phil has written some really insightful articles for the Bear-Foot website about the benefits beyond the cool of choosing barefoot shoes for children, what happens inside your child’s shoe when there’s not enough room, how to measure your child’s feet, and what criteria to look for with whatever shoes you buy. Phil is an absolute barefoot enthusiast in the very best kind of way which makes the customer service he provides absolutely unbeatable. He says ”quite simply, we are passionate about foot health and development – for our own children and yours too”.
There are currently 6 styles of Baby Bogs in stock at Bear-Foot plus a wide range of shoes for boys and girls. Priced at £35 Baby Bogs can seem expensive compared to Supermarket wellies but as E wears them every day they’re great value for the added comfort and grip they provide and being ready for any adventure, puddles or not. It’s a good job I don’t have a girl as well or these flower stripe Baby Bogs would accidentally be falling into my shopping cart right now!
Disclosure: I was sent the Baby Bogs to sample. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
If you enjoyed reading this post you might find our review of other barefoot shoes available from Happy Little Soles interesting